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Platinum production drops sharply

In full swing at
Anglo Platinum’s
new PPRust pit
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEWE.COM — 30 April 2008 – Anglo American’s Anglo Platinum – top platinum producer in the world – suffered severe drops in production of both mined and refined platinum during the first quarter of 2008.
Releasing its quarterly review and production report for the three months ending 31 March 2008 here yesterday, Anglo Platinum revealed that production of mined platinum from the mines managed by the company and its joint venture partners for the first quarter had amounted to 517 500 oz – a decrease of 19% compared to the first quarter of 2007.

The report quoted the main factors affecting production as:

  • The disruption of operations at the Amandelbult mine as a result of underground working areas being inundated by flood water. The mine is expected to be back in full production in the second quarter of 2008;
  • Electricity supply constraints experienced in January and February and the associated ramp-up period when supply resumed. The ongoing impact of the constrained electricity supply is expected to continue to have some impact on production and expansion projects throughout 2008, but the full extent of this impact cannot be estimated with reasonable accuracy at present;
  • Higher than planned mining from the lower grade north pit of the Mogalakwena mine;
  • Suspension of operations to rehabilitate shaft steelwork at the Turffontein Shaft of Rustenburg Section. The rehabilitation work on the shaft was completed ahead of schedule with first production delivered in March 2008.
  • Contract labour-related work stoppages at Rustenburg Section, Kroondal and Marikana over a five-day period during the quarter

The drop in refined platinum production was even greater, decreasing by 24% to 428 600 oz, compared to the first quarter of 2007.

Anglo Platinum pointed out, however, that resolution of the main factors which had affected production in the first quarter – other than the uncertainty of constrained electricity supply – was likely to result in an increase in production over the remainder of the year. “Accordingly, Anglo Platinum’s production forecast for 2008 remains 2.4 million ounces of refined platinum,” the report concluded.