London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 24 July 2009 – Lonmin “’ the world’s third largest platinum producer “’ is sticking to its forecast of platinum sales of between 680 000 and 700 000 ounces for its 2009 financial year which ends on 30 September.
Announcing this in the company’s third-quarter production report released here, it pointed out that this achievement was despite the closure of Lonmin’s Number One furnace for a month from June 15 for repairs, after a matte run-out and continuing problems since it was restarted.
CEO Ian Farmer cautioned that “this result is dependent on the selling of metal-in-process inventory, and on how the Number One furnace performs during the fourth quarter of the year”.
The production report indicated that the repaired furnace had not performed well since it was restarted on July 15. Slag leaks had occurred again after matte had been first tapped from the furnace, and power to the furnace had to be reduced to deal with the cause of the leaks.
“The furnace is expected to tap matte again in the coming days and, in order to preserve its integrity and maintain safe working practices, it will be operated at reduced power until a re-design of the matte tap hole area can be completed and a re-build initiated. This is currently planned for the first quarter of the 2010 financial year,” the report added.
Lonmin started up its three other Pyromet furnaces from June 15 to compensate for loss of production from the Number One furnace. The group has been plagued by major problems with its smelting operations, which are believed to be linked to the high chrome content of the increasing volumes of UG2 ore it is smelting.
Lonmin sold 178 494 oz of platinum in the June quarter (2008 June quarter – 180 270 oz) while sales for the nine months to end-June amounted to 490 347oz (469 233 oz a year earlier).