Lonmin “’ closing key
furnace for repairs
 
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 31 March 2010 – Lonmin Platinum “’ the world’s third-largest platinum producer “’ has shut down its key Number One furnace for 30 to 40 days because of a leak, but is offsetting lost production by starting up two standby furnaces immediately and a third in early April.

The London-based company “’ listed on the London and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges “’ produces some 660 000t of platinum from its mines in South Africa which is then concentrated before being processed through smelter and refineries to deliver finished metals to the market.

“These furnaces have around 40% of the capacity of the Number One furnace,” the company said in a statement issued here. “Changes, if any, to the full year sales guidance will be given once the repair programme has been confirmed."

Lonmin has struggled with a string of failures at its Number One furnace. Analysts say the high chrome content in its concentrate lies at the heart of its ongoing difficulties.

“Our initial estimate is that a full repair of the vessel is likely to take around 30-40 days. In order to mitigate the impact on production two Pyromet furnaces have already been started up, with a third one starting in early April,” Lonmin said.

The company added that this incident would have no impact on Lonmin’s half year results which close on 31 March 2010. Changes, if any, to the full year sales guidance would be given once the repair programme had been confirmed.

At the end of January, Lonmin reported quarterly results that showed signs of operational improvements, and it maintained its full-year production forecast of 700 000 oz, with operating costs seen below the South African inflation rate.