Eastern Platinum Limited

Eastern Platinum Limited

March 06, 2007 09:00 ET

Eastplats to Purchase 42% of Barplats Partner and Reaches Agreement to Purchase Royalty Over Spitzkop

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - March 6, 2007) - Mr. Ian Rozier, President and CEO of Eastern Platinum Limited (the "Company") (TSX:ELR)(AIM:ELR), is pleased to report that the Company has reached an agreement (the "Sale of Shares Agreement") to acquire 42.39% of the shares of Gubevu Consortium Investment Holdings (Proprietary) Limited ("Gubevu"), which holds approximately 26% of the shares of Barplats Investments Ltd ("Barplats"). The shares are to be purchased pro rata from the three shareholders of Gubevu, Barplats' Black Economic Empowerment ("BEE") partner, for a purchase price of ZAR 43,000,000 (approximately Cnd$6.9 million). In addition, the Company will settle Gubevu's financial obligations under its existing financing agreements, totaling ZAR 167 million (approximately Cdn$26.8 million) over a period of between two and five years.

Barplats has a current market capitalization of approximately ZAR3.03 billion. As the only assets which Gubevu holds is its shareholdings in Barplats, the value of the assets being acquired by the Company derive their value from Barplats' market value, less Gubevu's financial obligations that are being assumed.

"The recently announced proposed transactions involving the acquisition of a further 5% interest in Barplats, the inward listing of Eastplats on the JSE, and the acquisition of a 42.39% interest in Gubevu, follow a period of lengthy negotiations with the South African regulatory authorities and our BEE partner. We are pleased to have acquired the additional portion of the Barplats assets at this very early stage in their development and look forward to adding considerable value in the short term," stated Ian Rozier, President and CEO of Eastplats and Chairman of Barplats.

Concurrent with entering into the Sale of Shares Agreement, the Company has also entered into a four year put and call option agreement (the "Option Agreement") with the same shareholders of Gubevu over the balance of the shares of Gubevu. Under the terms of the Option Agreement either the Company, or the shareholders of Gubevu, may compel the purchase by the Company or its assigns and/or nominees of two further tranches of 28.83% each of the shares of Gubevu (the "Optioned Shares") at any time following March 1, 2009, as to the first tranche, and March 1, 2010, as to the second tranche. The purchase price for each tranche is ZAR 50,000,000, and may be satisfied at the election of the Company by the issuance of shares of the Company valued at the then market price.

Exercise of the put option by the shareholders of Gubevu is subject to the existing mineral rights of Barplats having been converted into New Order Mining Rights under South African mining legislation and the status of the Barplats assets remaining empowered as required in the South African regulatory codes. In circumstances where such conversion has not been effected by the triggering dates for either the first or second tranche of the Optioned Shares, the purchase price with respect to such tranche shall increase by ZAR 450,000 per month until such conversion has been effected.

The Sale of Shares Agreement and the Option Agreement remain subject to the required regulatory approvals, including approval of the South African Reserve Bank and Competition Commission, and satisfactory arrangements being reached with Gubevu's lenders, including Eagle Worldwide Investments Ltd.

In a separate transaction, the Company has entered into a Purchase Sale Agreement with Rhodium Reef Royalties ("RRR") for the purchase of the 1% net smelter royalty (the "NSR") on all platinum group metals recovered from the Spitzkop PGM project ("Spitzkop") held by RRR. The purchase price to be paid by the Company will be US$6,500,000 and twelve million common shares of the Company, the shares being restricted for transfer for a period of four months from the date of issue. Closing of the transaction shall take place on or before March 20th, 2007.

The directors of the Company consider, having consulted with its nominated advisor, that the terms of these transactions are fair and reasonable insofar as its shareholders are concerned.

"These agreements clear the path for us to increase our holdings in South Africa, and simplify the overall corporate structure of these assets at the same time. Furthermore, our proposed JSE listing demonstrates our commitment to having a long term presence in the country and provides the opportunity for all South Africans to participate in the future growth of our Company," stated Ian Rozier.

The Company strategy since 2005 has been to acquire platinum group metal (PGM) projects that were rich in platinum and rhodium and could be developed for relatively low capital costs. The Company is currently focusing on financing the expansion of the Crocodile River Mine in South Africa, owned by Barplats Investments Ltd., in which the Company holds an indirect 69% interest. Through other direct and indirect holdings, the Company controls additional PGM projects in South Africa over which New Order Prospecting Rights have been granted under the New Mining Act.

The Company has a total of 517,084,321 issued and outstanding shares, a market capitalization of approximately Cdn$1 billion on an undiluted basis, and has working capital of approximately Cdn$78 million.

Contact Information