Portal at the Amplats
Unki mine “’ lower
output affects overall
Johannesburg, South Africa — 19 April 2013 – Anglo American Platinum plc, the world’s biggest platinum producer, says output of the metal fell by 2% in the first quarter of 2013 as a result of strikes at some of its mining operations.

Bloomberg News reports that production dropped to 583,000oz in the three months through March from a year earlier due to illegal work stoppages and lower output from its Unki mine in Zimbabwe, according toa company statement. The shares rose for the first time in three days, adding 1.6% to R322.10 by 9:23 a.m. in Johannesburg this morning.

“The global platinum market is likely to be balanced in 2013 as result of reduced production,” Johannesburg-based Amplats said. “If South African platinum production returns to pre-strike levels, then the market would be oversupplied.”

Producers in South Africa, which has the world’s largest known reserves of platinum, are struggling with higher costs after strikes led to above-inflation wage gains, while demand wanes. Amplats in January said it planned to cut 400,000oz of platinum production annually, or 7% of global output, to help return to profitability.

Amplats’ proposals include idling four shafts and potentially cutting as many as 14,000 jobs. The company put the plans on hold for 60 days for talks after the government criticised its handling of the matter and threatened to revoke some mining licences. Amplats and the Department of Resources have extended talks until April 30, it said.

The company expects to refine and sell 2.2 to 2.3Moz of platinum in 2013, subject to the implementation of the review, it said.

Anglo American said the US$8.8 billion Minas-Rio iron-ore project in Brazil continued to progress with the target of its first ore shipment by the end of 2014. Minas-Rio, Anglo’s largest project, has suffered cost blowouts and delays.

Source: Bloomberg News. For more information, click here.