World number three platinum miner Lonmin is in advanced talks with Sibanye-Stillwater about mining into its suitor’s ground to keep its flagship shaft operating at optimal levels. In SA, the underground ore bodies are divided by what are commonly called “farm-fence boundaries”, which are artificial constructs that delineate a company’s mining area and can create problems when operations reach this line.

There have been a number of instances where companies swap underground resources, mine neighbouring resources under royalty agreements or buy them outright. Lonmin, which is cash-strapped and cannot afford to build the extensions and complete the projects the company so desperately needs, is engaged in talks about mining laterally from its K3 shaft into Sibanye’s Siphumelele mining area, Lonmin CEO Ben Magara said in an interview last week.

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