The world’s top platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum Limited has postponed investment in all growth and replacement projects until 2017 as weak global prices bite on the company’s expansion plans.
Anglo Platinum owns local platinum producer, Unki Mine.
“Disciplined capital is a key priority for Amplats. Given the particularly weak PGM price environment since mid-2015, the company has postponed investment in all growth and replacement projects.
“While these projects are high quality and high margin, with the ability to be at the lower end of the cost curve, current market conditions dictate that these capital decisions be delayed until at least 2017,” said the platinum miner in emailed responses to The Herald Business.
Another platinum giant, Impala Platinum Holdings Limited which owns Zimplats also announced the postponement of any expansion projects citing low PGM prices on the global market.
Amplats, however, revealed that its combined ore reserves for Zimbabwe and South Africa decreased in the year 2015 as a result of decreasing PGM prices which saw the reallocation of ore reserves back to mineral resources.
The mining group’s ore reserves inclusive of Rustenburg operations which is for sale, went down to 184,6 4E Moz from 205,3 4E Moz in the year 2015. The mining group said it will maintain an industry leading mineral resource and ore reserve status, even after the sale of the Rustenburg operations is complete, and after revisions made to future economic assumptions.
“The combined South African and Zimbabwean Ore Reserves inclusive of the Rustenburg operations have decreased from 205,3 4E Moz to 184,6 4E Moz in the year under review.
“This was primarily due to the mined volumes and the result of the decrease in the PGM prices causing the reallocation of Ore Reserves back to Mineral Resources in the Mogalakwena, Dishaba and Twickenham mining areas,” said Anglo American Platinum Limited.
“The South African and Zimbabwean Mineral Resource including the Rustenburg operations (inclusive of Ore Reserves) increased from 913,6 4E Moz to 916,4E Moz in the year under review.”
AngloPlat said despite a decrease in resource during the year, Unki mine produced 66 000 platinum ounces which is a seven percent increase driven by improved mining efficiencies and higher grade.
In the first half of 2015, 12 300 tonnes of concentrate were stockpiled in Zimbabwe as negotiations with the Government of Zimbabwe over export taxes were undertaken.
“Upon resolution, this material was exported to Polokwane smelter, and processed during the second half of 2015.
“Amplats ( a unit of Anglo Platinum Limited) had a strong recovery in platinum production in 2015, with the previous period being materially impacted by the five-month industrial action and subsequent ramp up,” said the platinum mining company.
AngloPlat said strong operational performances were achieved by Mogalakwena, Amandelbult and Unki with improved performances at Rustenburg and Union as they benefited from an increased focus on operational efficiency.