Africa's fourth-largest gold producer Ashanti Goldfields Co will develop a platinum mine in South Africa in a bid to diversify its output. Ashanti mines for gold in four African countries and it will work with a black-owned South African company to develop a concession given up by Anglo American Platinum Corp., the world's biggest platinum miner. Lonmin Plc, which owns 32 percent of Ashanti, already mines for platinum in South Africa. ``We've always had a strategic objective to diversify into platinum,'' said Trevor Schultz, Ashanti's Chief Operating Officer. ``Several times, we've come close to doing something with our biggest shareholder Lonmin.'' Ashanti applied in May for the right to explore for platinum in South Africa. Since the beginning of 1996, gold has tumbled by almost a quarter while platinum prices have leapt 36 percent. South Africa's Department of Minerals and Energy has awarded platinum-mining rights in the country's northeast as part of government efforts to increase black participation in the economy and make up for 350 years of white rule, which ended in 1994. ©
&to=http://www.ashantigold.com' target=_blank>Ashanti Goldfields
&to=http://www.mbendi.co.za/orgs/cb41.htm' target=_blank>Anglo American Platinum
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