ZimplatsImpala Platinum has not yet returned to full production at its South African operations following the five-month platinum strike in the country earlier this year and the deaths of four employees since resuming production.

“This has been a challenging quarter, post the five-month strike, with gross platinum production down 25.5% to 280 000 ounces on the comparable quarter last year, impacted mainly by the ramp-up at Impala Rustenburg.  Production volumes at Zimplats and Marula were also lower due to the safety closure of the Bimha mine and labour and safety impacts at Marula,” CEO Terence Goodlace commented.

Nevertheless, the company added in its production update that “Good progress in re-starting the operation during the first two months of the quarter was interrupted by four separate fatal incidents at the mine and the subsequent closure of the mining operation.”

As a result, Implats has begun a strategic review of all operations and projects.

“Despite these challenges, we expect the Rustenburg operation to achieve full production thereby enabling us to maintain our guidance for the full year, which includes 250 000 ounces and 575 000 ounces of platinum from the Impala Rustenburg operation at the half and full year respectively. Safety remains a critical aspect to delivering on our strategic objectives and we continue to actively engage all key stakeholders involved in our journey towards zero harm,” Goodlace said.

Implats’ inability to return to full production is contrasted by other strike-hit platinum producers Amplats and Lonmin who have returned to full production ahead of schedule. Lonmin has announced that it managed to ramp back up without a single fatality.

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