Aquarius Platinum’s
Marikana mine
 
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 27 October 2010 – Aquarius Platinum “’ the world’s fourth-largest primary platinum producer “’ says its first-quarter output rose 12% and that it was on track to meet its full-year production guidance.

A results statement issued here revealed that attributable production grew to 123 392 PGM ounces from 110 474 PGM ounces in the fourth quarter, helped by record output from the Mimosa mine in Zimbabwe and the ramp-up of production at the Everest site in South Africa.

The company expected to produce 530 000 ounces in the year to June 2011.

“The first quarter of our 2011 financial year had a tragic start, with the terrible accident at our Marikana mine in which five men lost their lives,” said chief executive Stuart Murray.

“The remainder of the quarter was a good one, despite a challenging rand pricing environment. Our operations performed strongly during the quarter, for the most part," he added.

Net profit was in line, rising to US$42.4 million (R288.3 million) from US$9.5 million (R64.6 million) the year earlier, as revenue surged 75% to US$149.5 million (over R1 billion).

The company’s London-listed shares were up 1.3% yesterday, outperforming a 1.0% dip in a British mining index.

“While the relative performance looks strong, driven by much higher production, it is important to highlight that the margin continues to be squeezed by lower metal prices, cost inflation and ongoing rand strength against the dollar,” said Seymour Pierce analyst Asa Bridle.

The rand strengthened against the dollar by 8% over the quarter, and Aquarius Platinum saw average dollar prices for platinum fall 5% and for rhodium drop 17%. However, the company’s costs declined or were steady in local currency terms at all operations except Marikana, its joint venture with Anglo Platinum.