OZ wins sale approval

OZ Minerals has received approval for the sale of its Martabe gold and silver project.

OZ Minerals yesterday announced it has received approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) for the sale of its Martabe gold and silver project.

According to OZ, FIRB found the US$211 million sale of Martabe to China Sci-Tech (CST) posed no foreign investment objections.

“This is an important step towards completion of the sale of Martabe and we continue to work with CST in order to complete the transaction towards the end of June” OZ Minerals Chairman Barry Cusack said.

FIRB last month also approved the US$1.2 billion asset sale between OZ and China Minmetals, a deal which will see OZ Minerals get out from over US$1 billion in debts it had been struggling to pay since late 2008.

The Martabe project, along with the Prominent Hill mine in South Australia, was excluded from the revised sale to Minmetals.

OZ chief executive Andrew Michelmore said proceeds would go towards addressing the company’s refinancing issues when the sale was announced in April.

The FIRB Martabe approval came on the same day OZ announced Terry Burgess had agreed replace the outgoing Michelmore as the company’s managing director and chief executive officer.

“We are delighted to have been able to attract someone of Terry’s proven calibre and experience to lead the restructured OZ Minerals”, OZ chairman Barry Cusack said.

Burgess has been head of business development for the base metals business of Anglo American plc since 2005 and was also global head of metals and mining for the investment bank ABN AMRO.

Cusack also used the announcement as an opportunity to reaffirm OZ Minerals’ position that of approving the Minmetals sale.

“The board of OZ Minerals unanimously recommends that shareholders, in the absence of a superior proposal, vote in favour of the resolution authorising the sale of assets to Minmetals as it is the best available option and provides a complete solution to OZ Minerals’ refinancing issues,” he said.

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