Enacy Mapakame Business Reporter
Anglo American Platinum’s local unit, Unki Mines, platinum group metals (PGMs) production for the third quarter to September 30, 2021 decreased by 29 percent to 42 500 ounces, negatively impacted by scheduled integration of a debottlenecking concentrator.
During the quarter under review, platinum production at Unki went down by 30 percent to 19 000 ounces while palladium production decreased by 30 percent to 16 600 ounces.
However, the group highlighted that mining performance continued to do well, leading to a build-up of ore tonnes ahead of the concentrator which will be processed in 2022.
“The debottlenecking project should see monthly tonnes milled increase from c.175 kilotonnes per month to c.210 kilotonnes per month, leading to a 50 000 PGM ounces increase per annum,” said the group.
Overall, Anglo’s total PGM production remained in line with the prior period (Q3 2020) at 1 116 200 ounces, with platinum production 1 percent higher at 519,100 ounces, offset by a 3 decrease in palladium production to 342 600 ounces.
Total PGM production from own-managed mines decreased by 7 percent to 606 300 ounces weighed down by a 6 percent decline in platinum and a 10 percent fall in palladium.
PGM production from joint operations rose by 19 percent to 227 400 ounces following recovery from Covid 19 induced disruptions.
Of this figure, accounted for 102 00 ounces which was 19 percent above the comparable quarter while palladium production increased by 20 percent to 67 800 ounces.
During the quarter under review, refined PGM production (from owned production, excluding tolling) increased by 39 percent to 1,420,400 ounces.
Refined platinum production increased by 32 percent to 663 500 ounces and refined palladium production rose by 30 percent to 459 800 ounces, with the ratio of metal in the pipeline returning to normalised levels.
In terms of sales, PGM volumes (excluding trading) increased by 54 percent to 1 361 000 ounces, as a result of higher refined production, partially offset by the rebuild in refined metal inventory. Platinum sales volumes rose by 42 percent to 637 200 ounces and palladium sales volumes increased by 78 percent to 465 100 ounces.
On the other hand, PGM sales volumes from trading decreased 53 percent to 160 200 ounces, as sales from trading activities were abnormally high in quarter 2020 to maintain supply of metal to customers, following the impact of Covid-19 on production and the temporary closure of the ACP (Anglo Converter Plant).
Commenting on the performance, group chief executive officer Natascha Viljoen said: “We have delivered a strong safety and production performance in the third quarter, with our own-managed operations being fatality-free for the year to 30 September 2021.
“The completion and successful integration of our debottlenecking project at Unki demonstrates how we are maximising value from our portfolio of high-quality assets, resulting in an annual run-rate increase of 50 000 PGMs ounces.
“Similarly, the strong performance of the ACP shows the increased resilience we are embedding across our business, with operational stability our major focus.”