Women working underground at Dishaba mine.
JSE-listed Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) reported two fatalities in its Q2, 2017 production report that are to be investigated independently.

Amplats, reported in its Q2, 2017 production report that Nkoliseko Jikumlambo was seriously injured in a fall of ground incident at Amandelbult’s Tumela mine on 8 April 2017 and sadly passed away on 21 April in hospital.

Kagiso Ramokgatla was fatally injured in a loader incident on 7 June 2017 at Amandelbult’s Dishaba mine.

Comprehensive independent investigations into these fatal incidents are under way to understand the circumstances and learn from them in order to create a safer work environment for all, and Amplats remains committed to zero harm.

Amplats production report

The Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate per 200 000 hours worked at Amplats managed operations has seen a significant improvement, reducing 13% to 0.63. (Q2 2016: 0.73).

Total platinum production (expressed as metal in concentrate) increased 5% to 617 100 oz with strong performances from Mogalakwena, Amandelbult and Unki.

Amplats reports an increase in production despite the Twickenham project being placed on care and maintenance in the second half of 2016, reducing unprofitable platinum production by 1 900 oz.

With the sale of Rustenburg in November 2016, production is now treated as third party purchase of concentrate from Sibanye, resulting in own mine production decreasing by 22%.

Mogalakwena production increased by 15% to 113,900 ounces due to a strong increase in built-up head grade of 7% resulting from mining in a particular high grade area in line with the mine plan, and a 9% increase in concentrator throughput due to North Concentrator Plant optimisations which increased the run time.

Amandelbult production increased by 4% to 110 500 oz due to improved plant recoveries and increased throughput from underground sources.

Unki production was up 10% to 19 500 oz, as continued efforts in efficient mining height control have reduced mining waste, leading to increased grade and higher production.

according to the Amplats report Union production decreased by 3% to 39 800 oz due to a reduction in mining of Merensky ore which reduced the overall grade.

The sale of Union to Siyanda Resources was announced on 15 February 2017 and is expected to complete by year-end.

Amplats states joint venture and associates production (mined and purchased) was down 1% to 201 100 oz (64 300 oz relating to own mined share of joint ventures and 136 800 oz purchase of concentrate from joint ventures and associates).

Production from BRPM was up 10% to 52,900 ounces as the Styldrift project ramps up in line with expectations. Modikwa was also up 2% to 32,000 ounces as a result of stoping efficiencies and improvements in productivity.

Production from Bokoni, Mototolo and Kroondal offset these increases, with Bokoni down 10% to 19 500 as a result of the closure of the opencast operations and safety related stoppages; Mototolo down 7% to 29 500 as a result of lower grade and Kroondal down 5% to 67 100 primarily due to lower grade and a plant shutdown which impacted production for 7 days.

Amplats says third party purchase of concentrate increased by 126 400 oz to 132 300 oz largely due to the inclusion of material from Sibanye (formally Rustenburg), which has been reported as third party purchase of concentrate since November 2016.

Other third party purchases, largely from Maseve increased to 4 300 oz (Q2 2016: 3 100 oz) as the mine ramps up.

Refined platinum production decreased by 29% to 528 700 oz primarily due to the planned Waterval Number 2 Furnace rebuild and a high pressure water leak at the converter plant.

Following the Waterval smelter run-out in Q3 2016, the Number 1 furnace was successfully rebuilt in Q4 2016 and is running at steady-state. The Number 2 furnace underwent planned maintenance and has successfully ramped up to steady-state.

The backlog in processing pipeline material of 65 000 platinum oz following the run-out in 2016 is expected to be made up during H2 2017.

Sales volumes for the quarter of 600 500 oz were down 26% due to the decrease in refined platinum production, however was more than refined production of 528 700 oz, due to reducing refined inventory to normalised levels, which had been built in Q2 2016 during the PMR stoppage.

Full year production guidance remains unchanged at 2.35 – 2.40 million platinum oz.

Feature image credit: Anglo American Platinum

(Women working underground at Dishaba mine.)