Vantage Goldfields one week away from liquidation

Written by Ciaran Ryan. Posted in Journalism

Empowerment company Siyakhula Sonke Corporation seems to be carrying on as if it owns the Barbrook and Lily gold mines, but its subsidiary Flaming Silver is unable to show that it has the money to purchase them. Picture: Supplied

This article first appeared in Moneyweb.

After three years in business rescue, Vantage Goldfields is headed for the knackers yard unless a buyer emerges in the next few days.

The company was placed in business rescue after a support pillar at Lily gold mine in Mpumalanga collapsed, claiming the lives of three workers. Lily and its sister mine Barbrook are owned by Vantage Goldfields SA (VGSA).

In January, empowerment company Siyakhula Sonke Corporation (SSC) and its subsidiary Flaming Silver were granted conditional approval for the transfer of control of mining rights by the department of mineral resources (DMR).

Flaming Silver CEO Fred Arendse announced that the offer to purchase Vantage Goldfields had become unconditional. Everything was in place, it seemed, except the money.

Business rescue practitioners Rob Devereux and Daniel Terblanche issued a statement yesterday saying Flaming Silver had still not come up with proof of the funds needed to purchase the mines. There is also no proof that the shares have been transferred to Flaming Silver by Vantage Goldfields.

Acting as the owner

But it seems SSC is carrying on as if it is the rightful owner of the mines. “We are aware that the SSC Group called a meeting with creditors in Nelspruit and that a number of issues were discussed in respect of the three engagements. Kindly note that this was not a statutory creditors meeting,” says the statement from the practitioners.

Other bidders have reportedly expressed interest in acquiring the Vantage assets, but unless the deal is closed within the next few days, liquidation proceedings will commence.

Read: It’s do or die time for one of SA’s oldest gold mines

Both Barbrook and Lily remain under care and maintenance. “The mines remain secure, but there is no post-commencement funding due to the position in respect of the transfer of shares by VGSA.”

Vantage shut its Nelspruit office late last year, apparently due to lack of funding. Since the office closure, VGSA’s records and assets have been under the control of the rescue practitioners.

Ciaran Ryan

The Writer's Room is a curated by Ciaran Ryan, who has written on South African affairs for Sunday Times, Mail & Guardian, Financial Mail, Finweek, Noseweek, The Daily Telegraph, Forbes, USA Today, Acts Online and Lewrockwell.com, among others. In between he manages a gold mining operation in Ghana, and previously worked in Congo. Most of his time is spent in the lovely city of Joburg.