Sunday, May 27, 2018
Neal Froneman

Neal Froneman

Sibanye Gold

IF everything goes to plan in 2016, Neal Froneman’s Sibanye Gold will have 1.15 million ounces of platinum group metals (PGMs) under its belt, gold output of 1.6 million oz, and access to its own coal resources which will secure predictable power at a reasonable rate of inflation for years to come. It will also have extended its geographic reach to Zimbabwe by dint of its R4bn play for Aquarius Platinum. These would be the fruits of some quite breathtaking deal-making last year that for 2016 must clear regulatory hurdles. We also assume that the PGM market doesn’t deteriorate further requiring a re-negotiation of terms. Froneman perturbs some with his professed chasing of dividend flow howsoever it materalises: be it coal, platinum or gold. They think it’s a ploy similar to the empire building at Uranium One. That, however, is probably unfair. Sibanye Gold’s Carletonville gold assets already deliver, producing regular dividend flow to shareholders even as the rest of the South African gold sector is ailing. By his own admission, however, Froneman has to get the gold assets back on track, as 2015 wasn’t a glittering operational performance. There’s also the question of whether AMCU will embark on a strike after refusing to accept the 13% entry-level pay increase at the firm’s gold mines.

LIFE OF NEAL

Born in Johannesburg and qualified as a mechanical engineer at the University of the Witwatersrand, Froneman has held down senior positions at Harmony Gold, Gold Fields and JCI. An entrepreneur at heart, he flew his Uranium One to close to the sun, crashed, and burned ... only to rise again as CEO of Gold One before forming Sibanye Gold through the reversal of assets from Gold Fields. Outspoken, driven, decisive, and with a love of fast cars and flying machines, Froneman is the proverbial rolling stone.