African Rainbow Minerals reported a 66% rise in headline earnings, with its ferrous unit boosted by higher prices, a weaker currency and a solid operational performance from its platinum arm.

Headline earnings per share for the six months to the end of December increased by two-thirds to 1 084 cents per share from 654c in the corresponding period in the second half of 2012. Basic earnings of R1.71 billion were negatively affected by exceptional items of R627 million. The largest exceptional item related to a R510 million unrealised mark-to-market loss on the Harmony investment.

“ARM’s headline earnings increased by 66% to R2.34 billion as a result of increased contributions from the iron ore, manganese ore, Two Rivers, Nkomati and Goedgevonden mines,” said Patrice Motsepe, ARM executive chairman.

ARM Ferrous headline earnings increased 108 percent, buoyed by higher dollar prices as well as a 19 percent weakening of the rand versus the dollar, while ARM Platinum headline earnings increased from R299 million to R363 million, the JSE-listed South African-based diversified mining company said. The increase was achieved despite lower US Dollar PGM and nickel prices.

The company said it would be funding exploration for a second year with a partner in northern Mozambique, where some of the world’s largest untapped coal resources are found, and has identified occurrences of copper, zinc and nickel in the region.