Slowed down by due process

Finweek English Edition - - Companies & Markets -

BERNARD SWANEPOEL HOPES to have Vil­lage Main Reef Gold Min­ing (Vil­lage) set up with R20m to in­vest by early Jan­uary 2009 and a clear strat­egy in place by endFe­bru­ary. Swanepoel is cur­rently tak­ing over Vil­lage through his op­er­at­ing com­pany – To The Point In­vest­ments – which will own be­tween 48% and 87% of Vil­lage de­pend­ing on the ex­tent to which mi­nori­ties take up their rights.

Vil­lage’s price shot up from a 12-month low of 21c to a high of 400c/share on the news of Swanepoel’s in­volve­ment but cur­rently trades at around 170c.

Swanepoel says he’s “con­cerned, frus­trated and ir­ri­tated” by the length of time it’s taken to put the Vil­lage scheme in place. He at­tributes that to the le­gal and ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­cesses, many of which he de­scribes as “bu­reau­cratic non­sense”. The rea­son for his frus­tra­tion lies in the in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties now be­com­ing avail­able due to the credit crunch in global fi­nan­cial mar­kets.

Swanepoel has so far in­vested in those through To The Point, tak­ing stakes in un­listed Delta Min­ing Con­sol­i­dated – which has coal and iron ore as­sets in SA and Liberia – and un­listed Dengetenge Platinum, which con­trols a deep-level platinum project near Steelpoort.

Says Swanepoel: “We’re still not sure whether Vil­lage will go into gold or into non­gold com­modi­ties, such as coal. The at­trac­tion of the coal sec­tor is that there are plenty of projects still at such early stages they’re

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