Bloomberg News

Exxaro to Close Unprofitable Zincor Refinery, Fire Workers

July 29, 2011

(Updates with CEO’s comments in second paragraph.)

July 29 (Bloomberg) -- Exxaro Resources Ltd., the second- biggest South African coal producer, plans to close the Zincor refinery in the country and may fire workers at the plant after failing to turn a profit or find a buyer.

“Zincor as a zinc-making operation has proved to be unsaleable,” Chief Executive Officer Sipho Nkosi said today in a statement. “Zinc-making is financially unsustainable, with Zincor incurring mounting financial losses; and turn-around and improvement interventions have proved fruitless.”

Exxaro unveiled plans to restructure and then sell zinc assets in 2009 to rid itself of low-margin, cyclical operations susceptible to rising energy costs and currency rates. Exxaro is still in talks on selling 50.04 percent of Namibia’s Rosh Pinah zinc and lead mine and 22 percent of the Chifeng smelter in China. Zincor produced 120,000 metric tons of zinc last year.

Base metals and industrial minerals contributed 12 percent to Exxaro’s overall sales in 2010, according to its website.

--Editors: Tony Barrett, John Viljoen

To contact the reporter on this story: Jana Marais in Johannesburg at jmarais@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net


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