The Merensky and UG2
concentrator plants
at Northam
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 30 July 2010 – Northam Platinum Limited “’ the only fully independent, black-owned and controlled PGM producer in South Africa “’ says it is losing about 1 500 ounces of output a day, after shutting down a shaft at Northam mine last week due to an accident that killed two miners.

In a further blow to production, about 5 000 employees at the company’s Zondereinde mine stopped work for the day yesterday to protest safety measures following the accident.

A spokeswoman for Northam, Marion Brower, said the company was still investigating the cause of the accident, which had been triggered by a "fall of ground."

The daily production loss was about 1 500 ounces, she added. She said operations would resume after the investigation had been completed, but could not say when that would be.

The output loss and work stoppage was unlikely to have an impact on the platinum market, due to Northam’s relatively small output, said Keith Bright, an independent precious metals analyst here. “It’s not much in the whole scheme of things,” he pointed out.

“It’s not going to have any pricing effect. If it was a strike, probably it would have made a difference.”

Northam produces 300 000 ounces of platinum group metals a year, compared to the 2.5 million ounces from rival Anglo Platinum, the world’s largest producer.