The Renova Group bids on South African gold and uranium mine

Victor Vekselberg

The Renova Group, owned by Russian billionaire Victor Vekselberg, and South Africa’s Waterpan Mining Consortium have made a bid for the Ezulwini gold and uranium mine in South Africa.

First Uranium Corp. is the owner of the Ezulwini mine, BusinessWeek reports.

The Renova Group and Waterpan’s bid comes after an initial offer from Australia’s Gold One International Ltd. of $70 million for Ezulwini, while South Africa’s AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. would acquire its Mine Waste Solutions unit for $335 million.

The purpose of the sale of the mine is for First Uranium to be able pay the outstanding principal on approximately $151 million of convertible debentures due June 30, according to BusinessWeek.

A group of First Uranium shareholders, however, said that the company would be selling it assets at too low a price to Gold One and AngloGold, and are encouraging the company to seriously consider Renova and Waterpan’s offer.

In the past year, shares of First Uranium have fallen 89 percent, and the company announced in December that it might cut 1,850 jobs at Ezulwini, according to BusinessWeek.

First Uranium had only $6.7 million in cash at the end of March, which was down from $10 million at the end of 2011. The company negotiated a $10 million loan as part of the Gold One transaction, which would need to be repaid at the close of the sale.

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