Johannesburg, South Africa — 20 November 2012 – World number two platinum producer Impala Platinum has reported a fall in production at its operations, but total group output rose on the back of increased processing of toll material.
The company reported gross refined platinum production for the three months to end-September 2012 of 454,000oz “’ a 17% improvement on the same period last year, reports BDlive.
However, production at its own mines or those in which it is a partner, was down nearly 18% at 279,000oz, with the Impala mine at Rustenburg showing the biggest fall in the first quarter of the Implats financial year.
“Lower production at Rustenburg due to the prolonged ramp-up was more than offset by once-off processing of toll material and an inventory release following the build up in the latter part of the previous financial year,” Impala said.
Costs shot up 35% to R15.326 per platinum ounce because of lower volumes and increased inflation.
The Impala mine is operating at between 80% and 85% of the 2011 financial year’s production level. The Rustenburg operations were shut for six weeks from February in a wildcat strike and the company is still trying to restore them to full production. “Operational performance continues to be impacted by the uncertain labour climate and as a result still remains well below planned levels,” Implats said.
The ramp up to historical levels had been expected during the September quarter. In the Rustenburg area, mines belonging to Anglo American Platinum and Lonmin were also badly hit by strikes in recent months.
Impala mine’s production fell 22% in the September quarter to 193,000oz of refined platinum because of reduced mill throughput, lower grades as well as a build-up of 12,000oz in the smelter.
Government-enforced safety stoppages fell to 10 during the quarter compared to 24 a year earlier as Implats cracked down on safety. “The number of self-imposed work stoppages increased in the drive to improve safety performance,” Implats said.
At Impala Refining Services, throughput increased by 88% to 261,000oz despite the drop off in material Implats buys from other mining companies to treat.
The refinery treated a “significant amount of once-off toll material compared to none” in the same quarter a year ago.
Source: BDlive. For more information, click here.