Australia-owned bauxite miner and aluminium producer South32 has confirmed the official transfer of ownership of the Bayside casthouse in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal to Isizinda Aluminium in a deal that will support the economic transformation of Richards Bay and the development of South Africa’s downstream aluminium industry.
The transfer to Isizinda Aluminium, a majority black-owned, broad-based black economic-empowerment (BBBEE) consortium, was effective from July 1, following the ownership agreement signed in November 2014 by South32 CEO Graham Kerr.
The agreement included the sale of the Bayside value-added product (VAP) casthouse, a R10-billion liquid-metal supply contract, 17 ha of land, equipment and the adjacent buildings associated with the casthouse.
The sale follows the closure of the Bayside smelter in June 2014. The casthouse has continued to operate with the supply of liquid metal from the adjacent South32-owned Hillside aluminium smelter.
Under the new arrangement, the Hillside smelter will continue to supply 96 000 t/y of liquid metal to the Bayside VAP casthouse.
Isizinda Aluminium was established in 2014 by its two shareholders, Zululand-based BBBEE group Bingelela Capital – which has a 60% shareholding – and aluminium manufacturer Hulamin – which has a 40% shareholding.
“The sale of the casthouse reflects South32’s vision of facilitating a larger downstream aluminium industry in South Africa,” said Kerr.
“We look forward to working with Isizinda to actively study the potential for expansion of the VAP casthouse beyond its current capacity and the opportunity for the establishment other VAP lines that can add scope and scale to the business.”
The sale and transfer of ownership of the Bayside casthouse has now received all the required regulatory approvals following the unconditional approval of the transaction by the South African Competition Tribunal in May.
Hillside Aluminium Smelter
Adjacent to the Bayside plant, the Hillside aluminium smelter is fully owned and operated by South32. Its capacity of about 720 t/y makes it the largest producer of primary aluminium ingot in the southern hemisphere.
With a staff complement of about 1 400 people, Hillside is one of the world’s most advanced and efficient smelters that uses Aluminium Pechiney technology.
The operation produces high-quality primary aluminium ingot for the export market and is managed through the South32 Africa regional office in Johannesburg.
South32 is a globally diversified metals and mining company that demerged from mining major BHP Billiton in May.
South32 owns a portfolio of high-quality, well maintained, cash-generative assets producing bauxite, alumina, aluminium, thermal and metallurgical coal, manganese, nickel, silver, lead and zinc.