Implats says output increased

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IOL BR mining PIC001 REUTERS File image: Reuters

World no. 2 platinum producer Impala Platinum said on Friday output in the three months to the end of September rose 17 percent despite the slow ramp-up of its key Rustenburg mine, shut earlier this year for six weeks by a violent strike.

The company said in a statement that the slow ramp-up at Rustenburg was off-set by the once-off processing of stock in inventory and material supplied by other mining companies.

At Rustenburg, the company said “operational performance continues to be impacted by the uncertain labour climate and as a result still remains well below planned levels.”

The Rustenburg strike in January and February, rooted in a bloody union turf war, was the start of a wave of violent wildcat action that rocked South Africa's platinum, gold and iron ore mines this year.

Implats is widely seen as having the best balance sheet in the industry, in part because of cost containment in the past and the rise in its production is bucking the sector trend, with South African platinum supplies seen at decade lows this year because of the strikes.

Rival Lonmin is going to the market with an $800 million rights issue to shore up its balance sheet after a prolonged strike that included the police killing of 34 striking miners in mid-August. - Reuters

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