File photo: Anglo American Platinum website
File photo: Anglo American Platinum website

Amplats says repair work underway for its converter plants

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Mar 20, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG  - Anglo American Platinum said on Friday it had started the repair process at its damaged converter plant and had been in discussions with third parties and agreed, in principle, revised terms for the duration of a force majeure period necessitated by the shutdown.

Friday's update came after Amplats on March 6 announced the temporary shutdown of the entire Anglo Converter Plant (ACP), part of the chain of its processing facilities, and the need to declare force majeure, a reference to unforeseeable circumstances that prevent an entity from fulfilling a contract.

The company's ACP phase A converter plant at Waterval smelter in South Africa's mining town of Rustenburg was damaged following an explosion in February, with repairs expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2021.

Amplats said the phase B unit was commissioned to take over from the phase A plant but water was detected in the furnace, posing a high risk of explosion and necessitating a temporary shutdown to ensure the safety of workers. Repair work to fix the phase B unit would take approximately 80 days.

On Friday, Amplats said it did not foresee any customer agreements being terminated as a result of this disruption.

"The force majeure period is defined as starting on 6 March ... and remains ongoing for the time it takes to repair ACP Phase B which is expected to be approximately 80 days, ending around 25 May," it said.

Estimated capital expenditure for replacement equipment and repair for the Phase B unit was R150 to R200 million, while the estimated capital expenditure to rebuild Phase A would be R500 to R600 million.

"As a result of the activities under way at the ACP, the company is reviewing its capital plans for 2020 and will provide a further update of the full year capex guidance in due course," Amplats said.

On Tuesday, fellow mining company Sibanye-Stillwater it had reached a deal in principle with Amplats on the processing of all platinum group metals (PGM) containing material produced from its Rustenburg and Platinum Mile operations and approximately half of the PGM containing material produced from the Kroondal operations at its Marikana processing facilities for at least the duration of the force majeure period.

- African News Agency (ANA) 

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