Johannesburg, South Africa — 12 June 2012 – Aquarius Platinum “’ the world’s fourth-largest platinum producer “’ has become the first major platinum producer to scale back activities because of low prices, and will likely not be the last as costs soar and labour strife grips the sector.
The company announced here that it was to suspend operations at its Marikana joint venture which produced 53,000 ounces of platinum group metals in the company’s 2010/11 financial year.
Marikana is a 50/50 joint venture with Anglo American Platinum, the No. 1 producer in the world, and which was not available to comment. Aquarius manages the mine and the impact of the closure may not have been material enough for Amplats to make a public disclosure itself.
“On an all-in cost base, today 50% of the platinum industry is underwater. It is pretty messy out there,” SBG Securities platinum analyst Justin Froneman said.
The Aquarius announcement said the P&SA2 operations at Marikana had been placed on care and maintenance, due to the enduring low PGM basket price environment. This decision had been made in the interests of preserving the P&SA2 ore reserves until an improved economic climate merits their extraction in the future, it added
As a result, Marikana 4 Shaft and the Marikana concentrator plant would be placed on care and maintenance. Preparations for these events had been initiated, and the required consultative processes had commenced.
Further updates would be released as appropriate.
Source: Aquarius Platinum and Reuters. For more information, click here.