Consistent with its strategic review announcement in August 2018, Implats is progressing the implementation of its Impala Rustenburg strategic restructuring plan.
This includes consideration being given to alternative commercial outcomes which, as
communicated to the market, could include the sale of identified shafts and/or full-contract mining provisions.
Implats has commenced a process to identify and engage with parties who may have an interest in, or have already expressed an interest in, acquiring Impala Rustenburg’s 1 Shaft (1 Shaft Disposal Process), which, as per the restructuring plan, is scheduled to be put on care and maintenance from April 2019.
In parallel to the 1 Shaft Disposal Process, Implats is continuing to engage with parties who may have an interest in, or have already expressed an interest in, the 100% outsourcing of 1 Shaft to a third-party contractor.
Implats’ CEO, Nico Muller, comments:
“I am pleased to report improved safety and operational performances during the quarter, particularly at Impala Rustenburg, which has reported its highest first-quarter mill tonnage for the past six years.
“Tonnes milled at Impala Rustenburg increased by 5.6% compared to the previous corresponding quarter, reflecting the positive outcomes of various initiatives implemented at the operation to improve safety, production and cost performance.
“We remain steadfast in our resolve to eliminate high-cost production at this business, aligned with our lower future metal prices outlook.
“To this end, we have progressed the Section 189 restructuring process for 1 500
employees and engaged with parties interested in potentially acquiring the 1 Shaft operation, which is scheduled to be put on care and maintenance in April 2019 as per our restructuring plan.”
Gross tonnes milled (including joint venture operations) during the quarter increased by 1.9% to 6.87 Mt, compared to 6.74 Mt achieved in the prior comparable period.
The increase was largely due to a much stronger operational performance at Impala Rustenburg.
Platinum in concentrate produced during the quarter across all mining operations (managed and joint venture) was maintained at 349 000 oz as increased production from Impala Rustenburg was offset by lower volumes from Two Rivers and Mimosa.
Gross refined platinum production during the quarter increased by 8.2% to 369 000 oz, compared to 341 000 oz achieved in the prior comparable period, which was impacted by scheduled furnace maintenance at both the Impala and Zimplats operations during the first quarter a year ago.
Impala delivered a much improved operational performance compared to the previous comparable period. Tonnes milled increased by 5.6% to 3.15 Mt, compared to 2.98 Mt in the previous comparable quarter, while the mill grade (6E) improved by 2.0% to 4.03g/t.
Good performances across all mining operations, supported by increased production from the development shafts, was partially offset by the loss of production from 4 Shaft, which was closed in January 2018.
Consequently, platinum in concentrate increased by 2.8% to 186 000 oz, compared to 181 000 oz in the prior comparable period.
Refined platinum production increased by 35.3% to 180 000 oz from 133 000
in the prior comparable quarter, which was impacted by planned furnace maintenance.
Zimplats sustained its operational performance with mill throughput and grade largely unchanged at 1.68 Mt and 3.48 g/t (6E) respectively.
As a result, platinum in concentrate produced at the operation during the quarter was maintained at 70 000 oz. However, platinum in matte increased by 42.9% to 70 000 oz, compared to 49 000 oz in the prior corresponding period, which was impacted by scheduled furnace maintenance.
Marula continues to deliver an improved operational performance following prior business restructuring initiatives and ongoing multi-stakeholder engagements to sustain business continuity.
Tonnes milled during the period increased by 2.6% to 511 000 tonnes, compared to 498 000 tonnes in the prior corresponding period.
However, the grade declined by 4.5% to 4.23g/t (6E) due to a planned increase in
development volumes and an increase in stoping width. Consequently, platinum in concentrate production was maintained at 23 000 oz during the period under review.
Mimosa sustained production in line with design capacity. Tonnes milled during the period decreased by 2.1% to 702 000 tonnes, compared to 717 000 tonnes in the previous comparable quarter, impacted by planned mill maintenance during the reporting period.
Platinum production in concentrate decreased by 6.3% to 30 000 oz from 32 000 oz in the prior corresponding period as a result of the lower milled tonnage and mill grade.
Two Rivers’ mill grade continued to be impacted by mining into split reef areas. Performance during the period was also impacted by community disruptions not aimed specifically at Two Rivers, but which necessitated processing material from the lower-grade ore stockpile.
Consequently, tonnes milled decreased 3.2% to 825 000 tonnes, compared to 852 000 tonnes in the previous comparable quarter, and the mill grade (6E) deteriorated by 5.1% to 3.51g/t.
This impacted platinum in concentrate production, which decreased by 9.5% to 38 000 oz, compared to 41 600 oz in the prior comparable period.
Impala Refining Services
IRS’s refined platinum production during the period decreased by 9.6% to 189 000 oz, compared to 209 000 oz in the prior comparable quarter. This was largely due to higher deliveries from a third-party customer during the previous comparable period.
Mine-to-market production increased by 2.0% to 154 000 oz in the quarter under review, while third-party toll refining volumes decreased from 57 000 oz in the prior corresponding period to 35 000 oz this quarter.