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Aquarius revenue and profits drop

Overview of Aquarius
Platinum’s Kroondal
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 06 February 2009 – Aquarius Platinum –a focused platinum group metals producer in southern Africa, listed on the Australian, London and Johannesburg stock exchanges – has posted significant decreases in revenue and profits for the first half of its 2009 financial year.

The company’s results statement released here revealed that revenues for the six months to 31 December 2008 had decreased by 67% to US$139.2 (R1.4 billion). This performance had been impacted by US41 million (R410 million) in negative sales adjustments from the prior period.

It added that the company had recorded a net loss of US$70.1 million (R700 million) – a substantial turnaround from a profit of US160.6 million (R1.6 billion) a year earlier. Included in this was US$16.8 million (R168 million) for suspension costs of Everest. This reflected a loss of US$ 25.1 cents a share, compared to earnings of 41.6 a share in the six months to 31 December 2007.

Commenting on the results, Aquarius CEO Stuart Murray said: “The declines in the PGM basket price resulting from a difficult global environment, along with the implications of the Everest suspension, have impacted the company significantly. Our people are working through these difficult times, reducing costs and capital expenditure to improve profitability and cash flows.”

The statement revealed that total on-mine production for the period was 456 345 PGM ounces. This represented a 19% increase over the first half of 2008, but a 1% decrease when compared to the second half of 2007.

It pointed out that production attributable to Aquarius was up 17% to 260 208 PGM ounces for the second half of 2008 compared to the first half, although it was 6% lower than the final half of 2007. This was due to the temporary closure of the Everest Mine on 7 December 2008.

At the start of the financial year, the group was targeting a 2009 annual production of 575 000 PGM ounces – an increase of about 15% on the previous year. This target has been reduced by 100 000 ounces to take account of the suspension of operations at Everest, and the impact of the transition to owner-operator.