Stuart Murray,
Chief Executive,
Aquarius
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 27 January 2009 – South African-focused Aquarius Platinum Limited revealed today that it expects a first-half after-tax loss of US$75-$85 million (R750-R850 million) due to weak metals prices.

In a statement issued here today the company said the expected loss for the six months to 31 December 2008 included a US$20 million (R200 million) write-down for the temporary closure of its South African Everest mine.

Reuters reports that Aquarius posted a 26 % rise in net profit to US$236 million (almost R2.4 billion) in the year to the end of June 2008.

“The deterioration in earnings has been attributable in the main to the continued decline in metal prices during the second quarter, particularly rhodium which fell 54% and nickel which fell 27%,” chief executive Stuart Murray said.

The statement also revealed that the company was conducting impairment testing of the carrying value of other assets at the year end, so the actual first half results might change.

Attributable production of platinum group metals for the three months to 31 December rose 2.7% to 131 843 ounces.

Aquarius said cash costs at all of its operations in South Africa had fallen, mainly due to higher volumes, but declining prices of mine inputs such as steel, fuel and explosives were expected to result in lower future costs.