File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG - Anglo American Platinum said on Thursday total platinum group metals production increased by three percent to  1,256,900 ounces in the fourth quarter of 2018, due to improved operational performances particularly at Unki and its joint venture portfolio.

However, own managed mines PGM output fell two percent to 535,600 as a result of lower production at Mogalakwena due to planned reduction in grade and at Amandelbult due to a fatality. These were partially offset by a strong performance from Unki and the inclusion of Mototolo as own mined production.

Joint venture PGM production, both mined and purchase of concentrate, increased six percent.

PGM sales volumes were flat at 1,507,200 ounces during the quarter.

Amplats said the PGM production outlook for 2019, excluding tolling material from Sibanye-Stillwater, was between 4.2 million and 4.5 million ounces, including platinum production of 2.0 - 2.1 million ounces and palladium production guidance of 1.3 – 1.4 million ounces.

"Production guidance is down on 2018 due to the transition of Sibanye-Stillwater material to a tolling arrangement in place of its concentrate purchased," the company said.

Purchased production from Sibanye-Stillwater in 2018 equated to 903,900 PGM ounces, including 464,100 platinum ounces and 231,800 palladium ounces.

"Refined production and sales volumes should increase as the backlog of work-in-progress inventory is processed in full during 2019," Amplats added.

- African News Agency (ANA)