October 5, 2016 / 4:45 PM / a year ago

Amplats, Sibanye still confident of Rustenburg deal this year

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Anglo American Platinum remains confident the disposal of its labour-intensive Rustenburg mines in South Africa to Sibanye Gold will clear its last regulatory hurdle this year, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

Chris Griffith also told Reuters wage talks with unions including the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the majority union at Rustenburg, were "fairly close" to a deal but did not need to be sealed to complete the disposal.

"We are not trying to get too cute about doing this before we do that," he told Reuters on the sidelines of a mining conference.

AMCU has officially demanded wage hikes of close to 50 percent against an offer of 6.75 percent but neither side has revealed the latest demands or counter offers.

AMCU lead a crippling five-month strike in the platinum sector in 2014 and Amplats is now making a pivot away from labour-intensvive operations to mechanised mining.

On the disposal to Sibanye, Griffith said: "We're close and we will absolutely make our deadline by the end of the year."

Sibanye Chief Executive Neal Froneman also told Reuters he remained confident of getting the final regulatory approval from the Department of Mineral Resources before the end of the year.

Sibanye, which operates labour-heavy gold mines, sees the move into platinum and the Rustenburg operations as a good fit to its diversification strategy. (Reporting by Ed Stoddard; editing by Susan Thomas)

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