London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 07 July 2010 – Aquarius Platinum “’ the world’s No.4 primary platinum producer “’ has suspended operations at a shaft of its Marikana operation in South Africa following the death of five miners, which has pushed its shares to an eight-month low.
Revealing this here today, Aquarius spokesman Gavin Mackay said it was too early to say what impact the accident might have on production. Shaft 4, where the deaths occurred, is responsible for about half of the production at Marikana.
“Whilst the direct impact on production is likely to be limited, we expect an indirect impact from more frequent safety-related stoppages, and are reducing our FY2011 production forecast by 1% and EBITDA by 2%," said Panmure Gordon analyst Alison Turner.
The accident is the second this month for Aquarius, although it is the first at Marikana, which is a 50:50 joint venture with Anglo American’s Anglo Platinum unit.
Shares in London-listed Aquarius Platinum were down 8.3% at 0918 GMT today to the lowest level since November 2009, while AngloPlat “’ the world’s leading primary platinum producer “’ was down 1.8%.
Last Thursday Aquarius cut output targets by a fifth at its Blue Ridge mine due to a two-week suspension of operations and a safety review after two deaths.
“We expect that the Marikana incident will likely result in an operational impact at the mine, however it is too early to say on what scale, though we guess a 1 to 2-week closure could be expected in line with similar accidents elsewhere,” said Liberum Capital.
Marikana produced 157 937 ounces of platinum group metals in FY2009 of which 78 969 ounces were attributable to Aquarius.
The five miners at Marikana were killed after a fall of ground trapped seven workers, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) told Reuters. “One other worker is in a critical condition in hospital, while the other was rescued unhurt,” said NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni in a statement.
An investigation into the cause of the accident will start on Wednesday.