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SA to supply more platinum this year

Impala Platinum’s
Mimosa operation in
Zimbabwe at dusk
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 18 November 2009 – Supply of platinum from South Africa “’ the world’s top source of the precious metal “’ will rise by 5% this year, with the sale of stocks countering lower output, according to a leading metal refiner.

“The producer of four-fifths of the world’s platinum will see supply rise by 210 000 ounces to 4 73 million ounces in 2009, mainly due to sales of the metal produced last year, but unsold until this year,” said Johnson Matthey (JM) “’ the world’s leading authority on the production, supply and use of platinum group metals “’ here in its newly published ‘Platinum 2009 Interim Review.’

“Although three new mines have started up in South Africa, and a number of others have increased production, output of platinum concentrate will fall, but changes in refined stocks will ensure supplies will increase,” JM added.

Global supply of platinum used in auto catalytic converters and in jewellery, is seen rising 1.9% to 6.06 million ounces, revising some of the decline seen last year, the review said.

Platinum production fell in South Africa due to shaft closures, accidents and strike action, mainly at Impala Platinum Holdings Limited (Implats) “’ the world No. 2 producer of the metal, which supplies 25% of the metal globally from its South African and Zimbabwean mines.

JM added that Impala’s bigger rival Anglo Platinum (Angloplat), would see production fall after shutting some shafts. Angloplat “’ which accounts for about 40% of the global supply of the metal “’ shut its unprofitable shafts denting production, but overall output for this year was seen to be better than last year.

Lonmin plc “’ the world’s No. 3 platinum producer “’ which aims to boost its refined platinum production from 700 000 oz this year to 850 000 ounces by 2013 “’ is expected to be hit by a decision to cut some production at its Marikana operations, and to close its mine in Limpopo.

Smaller rival Aquarius Platinum Limited “’ the world’s fourth biggest platinum producer “’ will also produce less due to the temporary closure of its Everest mine.

Zimbabwe “’ which has the second largest reserves of platinum after South Africa “’ was forecast to lift output this year despite its political and economic crisis.

Supplies of platinum from Zimbabwe were forecast to rise to 225 000 ounces this year, mainly due to a jump in output at Zimplats Holdings, in which Implats has a majority stake.