CAPE TOWN, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Sibanye Gold is hunting for another South African platinum asset with a focus on smelting and refining, but a deal is unlikely this year as its seeks to fund its acquisition of U.S. producer Stillwater , its CEO said on Monday.
"We still have a step to do with our platinum strategy," Sibanye Chief Executive Neal Froneman told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of an African mining conference.
"Our South African asset base still needs to have a mine to market basis. We need to add downstream processing, so that's smelting, refining. We want to know who our end-users are and develop the market," he said.
But he said the rights issue of up to $1.3 billion the company was planning for its $2.2 billion Stillwater acquisition needed to be completed first and so any new deal was unlikely in 2017.
"We think it's prudent to target the $1.3 billion. It gives us a prudent balance sheet," said Froneman, a blunt-talking executive with a reputation for deal making.
Sibanye, a Gold Fields' spinoff, has branched aggressively from gold into platinum, acquiring Anglo American Platinum's labour-intensive Rustenburg operations as the Anglo unit pivots to mechanised mining. (Reporting by Ed Stoddard; editing by Barbara Lewis)