Saturday, March 23, 2019
Stephen Miller

Stephen Miller

Waterberg Coal Company

WHO says there’s no money to be made in the coal industry? Not only has Miller attracted the purse of Sibanye Gold to his coal company – Waterberg Coal Company (WCC) - but if a proposed buyout of WCC by Sibanye proceeds, Miller gets a bonus of 120% of his annual fee of A$350,000. This is pretty neat work largely because WCC’s project is no dripping roast. It is located in South Africa’s Limpopo province coalfields which are far from any port at a time when lenders to the coal market are not disposed to risky business. Conditions looked much bleaker for WCC in the first half of 2015. The company suffered a $56.4m annual loss and was unable to secure an Eskom supply contract despite five years of negotiation. Miller’s response to this predicament was to commission studies that would examine the modular development of WCC’s coal resource through which it would produce both export and local coal. These plans did little to inspire lenders which Miller put down to “somewhat challenging” economic conditions. Fortunately, Sibanye Gold’s Neal Froneman was casting about for an independent power producer project that would generate reliable power for his group’s growing precious metals portfolio. The deal is not in the bag, but Sibanye has the right to acquire a majority stake in WCC by taking over the coal company’s loan which can then be converted into shares.

LIFE OF STEPHEN

He is a 55-year-old chartered accountant from Western Australia who founded resources investment firm, Resource Venture Capital Partners. He studied his articles at Deloitte and has been involved in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions in the resources sector for over 25 years.