Chinese firm may buy Aurora mines

PAMODZI Gold joint liquidators have a "plan B" in place for Grootvlei and Orkney mines should Aurora Empowerment Systems' American funders not come through as promised.

Liquidator Enver Motala said yesterday: "A Chinese consortium had displayed an interest in the mines, but that is only plan B. As things stand, we are waiting for an official letter from Aurora's funders confirming that the funding is coming through."

The Chinese consortium is reported to have partnered with an obscure Welkom-based company called Virgile Mining in its bid for the two mines.

Aurora is due to make an announcement at a press conference today that it has received a $100million lifeline from a North American private equity fund.

The financing deal would help Aurora buy the Grootvlei mine in the East Rand and Orkney in the North West. It has been running the mines since late last year when its R605million bid was chosen by Pamodzi's liquidators.

The investment firm has struggled for months to pay mineworkers who last month downed tools in protest of outstanding wages.

The liquidators gave Aurora until April 26 to buy the mines or lose the deal.

Motala said Aurora had asked for an extension on the deadline since Tuesday was a public holiday.

Asked what would happen if Aurora's funding does not materialise, Motala said then the liquidators would have to reconvene and decide on the way forward.