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The Group’s focus for the remaining months of FY2020 will be multipronged and will include securing operational stability in a period where unplanned interruptions are likely to be a regular feature; protecting the health and well-being of its employees; maintaining close and collaborative relationships with its customers; and further reducing the Group’s excess processing stockpile to secure cashflow and protect its financial position.

Implats’ CEO, Nico Muller, comments:

“Implats continued to make excellent progress in delivering a strengthened operational performance across the Group in a period characterised by robust pricing for our primary products.

“The emergence of the coronavirus pandemic has however, heralded a time of unprecedented uncertainty, which will require new ways of thinking and innovative solutions to challenges we have not faced as a company before.

“Implats is faced with nationwide lockdowns and legislated limitations on operating and production capacity across all our operations aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.

“The geographical spread of our operations has allowed mining production to continue during the lockdown periods, albeit in varying degrees in different geographies, while the continued production of refined metal has provided an opportunity to reduce excess in-process inventory.

“The impact of the coronavirus will be a feature for some time and, in our view, operating in a ‘business as usual’ environment will not be possible until effective prevention and treatment measures become readily available.

“Our internal planning to secure operational resilience during the coronavirus pandemic has been ongoing since its emergence in early 2020.

“Our primary focus remains on protecting the safety and health of our employees while sustaining operational delivery as far as possible.

“The Group has taken decisive steps to secure and sustain financial viability and continues to engage actively with the governments where we operate, given the significant contribution we make to both local and national economies.”

Impala Rustenburg – Quarter ended 31 March 2020

An estimated 6% of production volume, equating to 17 500 ounces of 6E, was lost due to the implementation of care and maintenance ahead of the start of the national lockdown. Tonnes milled during the quarter declined by 8% to 2.37 million tonnes, compared to 2.58 million tonnes in the prior comparable period. Lower volumes were delivered as expected from 1 and 10 shafts due to reduced operations and challenging ground conditions, offset by the ramp-up in production from 16 shaft.

The increase in the development-to-stoping ratio and continued orepass rehabilitation at 16 and 20 shafts impacted milled grade. However, concentrate production was buffered by improved recovery and yield from the trial tailings campaign and other surface sources, resulting in a 7% decrease in volumes to 275 000 ounces, compared to 296 000 ounces in the prior comparable period.

Refined 6E production of 343 000 ounces improved by 12% during the quarter from 307 000 ounces in the prior corresponding period. This was due to the implementation of a revised stock allocation policy between Impala Rustenburg and IRS during the current financial year.

9 months ended 31 March 2020

Tonnes milled decreased 5% to 8.1 million tonnes and the milled grade of 3.92g/t (6E) was 1% lower. Higher recoveries and contributions from the trial tailings campaign were offset by lower production from other high-grade surface sources including smelter reverts. 6E production in concentrate of 928 000 ounces declined by 4% from 969 000 ounces in the prior corresponding period.

Refined 6E production increased by 5% to 1.10 million ounces from 1.05 million ounces during the previous comparable period, benefitting from the change in stock allocation and despite constrained smelter capacity due to ongoing maintenance.

Zimplats – Quarter ended 31 March 2020

Zimplats operations received approval to operate during the national lockdown in Zimbabwe resulting in minimal interruptions to production. The operation delivered a strong performance during the quarter under review. Tonnes milled increased by 6% to 1.70 million tonnes, while the delivered mill grade was stable at 3.46g/t (6E). 6E concentrate production improved by 6% to 150 000 ounces compared to 141 000 ounces in the prior corresponding period. Matte production and concentrate sales were slightly higher than milled volumes in the period and improved by 6% to 152 000 ounces.

9 months ended 31 March 2020

Mill throughput of 5.08 million tonnes was 3% higher and 6E concentrate production improved by 3% to 449 000 ounces from the prior comparable period. Production in matte, together with concentrates sold, were impacted by the accumulation of in-process inventory due to the furnace rebuild in 1Q 2020 and declined by 3% to 419 000 ounces from 433 000 ounces.

Marula – Quarter ended 31 March 2020

An estimated 6% of production volume, equating to 3 500 ounces 6E was lost due to the implementation of care and maintenance ahead of the start of the national lockdown. Despite this headwind, Marula delivered a much-improved performance in the current quarter benefiting from the treatment of some surface material. Milled volumes increased by 23%, milled grade rose by 17% and 6E concentrate production was up 37% to 55 000 ounces from the previous comparable quarter when operational continuity was hampered by community disruptions, which resulted in a seven-day work stoppage.

9 months ended 31 March 2020

Mill throughput improved by 8% to 1.40 million tonnes from 1.30 million tonnes in the previous corresponding period. Grade increased by 9% and concentrate production rose by 14% to 179 000 ounces from 158 000 ounces.

Mimosa – Quarter ended 31 March 2020

Mimosa received approval to operate during the national lockdown in Zimbabwe resulting in minimal interruption to production in the quarter under review. Mining operations were placed on care and maintenance at the end of the quarter as milling from stockpiled material continued. Mining has since been resumed in terms of an exemption received from the government of Zimbabwe.

Mimosa continued to recover from the first quarter when concentrate volumes were impacted by extensive mill repairs. Milled volumes of 683 000 tonnes and delivered grade of 3.85g/t (6E) were maintained versus the prior comparable period. Lower recoveries impacted marginally on concentrate production, which declined by 2% to 61 000 ounces. The primary process bottlenecks at Mimosa will be addressed through the installation of additional milling equipment during the plant optimisation project which is currently underway at the operation.

9 months ended 31 March 2020

During the nine-month period, mill throughput declined by 5% from the prior comparable period due to the breakdown in the primary mill in 1Q 2020, with a total of 1.99 million tonnes treated. 6E concentrate production of 181 000 ounces was 7% lower than the prior comparable period.

Two Rivers – Quarter ended 31 March 2020

An estimated 6% of production volume, equating to 4 500 ounces of 6E, was lost due to the implementation of care and maintenance ahead of the start of the national lockdown at the end of the quarter, with a further two days of production lost due to an Eskom transmission line fault earlier in March 2020.

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Total tonnes milled declined by 3% to 808 000 tonnes and milled grade was 4% lower at 3.46g/t (6E). Concentrator recoveries continued to be negatively impacted by lower grade and changes in mineralogy as greater proportions of feed are sourced from split-reef and development tonnage. Concentrate volumes of 71 000 ounces declined by 9% from the 78 000 ounces produced in the prior comparable period.

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9 months ended 31 March 2020

Mill throughput decreased by 2% to 2.45 million tonnes, while mill grade decreased by 3% to 3.45g/t (6E) and metallurgical recoveries reduced by 6%. Consequently, 6E concentrate production declined by 13% to 209 000 ounces from 239 000 ounces in the prior comparable period. A project aimed at increasing mill capacity to compensate for the structural change in feed-grade was approved in February 2020 with work commencing during the period.