Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 16 July 2009 – Aquarius Platinum Limited “’ a focused platinum group metals (PGMs) producer in Southern Africa with a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange, plus listings on the ASX and the JSE “’ is preparing to re-open its Everest mine in South Africa, seven months after closing it with the loss of almost 2 000 jobs.
“It will take about ten months for a re-start and ramp-up of production,” Aquarius said in a stock exchange statement. The company announced on 8 December 2008 that Everest “’ located in South Africa’s eastern Mpumalanga province “’ had been suspended, after a subsidence had made part of the mine unstable.
The employment cuts at Everest added to growing losses across South Africa’s platinum industry as metal prices fell. At the time, the Solidarity labour union said the Everest job cuts would affect almost 19% of the residents of nearby Lydenburg.
Anglo Platinum Limited “’ the world’s largest producer “’ is cutting about 10 000 jobs in South Africa, and Lonmin Plc, the third biggest, more than 5 000.
“The decision to resume operations will, however, be made in the context of prevailing metals prices and market conditions,” said Aquarius, which put the cost of reopening the mine at about R250 million rand. The company, which also has operations in Zimbabwe, will build two new shafts to access rock containing platinum at Everest, it explained.
Aquarius is “quite comfortable” with an insurance settlement agreed in response to a claim for subsidence and loss of earnings at Everest, Aquarius spokesman Willi Boehm told Bloomberg News by phone. He declined to be more specific.