File image: Reuters

Miner Aquarius Platinum on Tuesday reported a 29% drop in revenue for the year ended June at US$486 million.

Its operating net cash flow for the period decreased by 85% to$26 million. Aquarius also reported a headline loss per share of US32.88 cents.

Aquarius described the period under review as “exceptionally challenging” for the companies in the platinum group metals (PGM) sector in SA.

“Company specific operational performance issues‚ a significant drop in the Rand price basket especially since February coupled with rising input costs in SA and Zimbabwe‚ poor labour relations at the primary mining contractor in SA‚ and unreasoned safety stoppages all combined to deliver an unfortunate operational and financial outcome for Aquarius‚” said Aquarius CEO Stuart Murray.

Its EBITDA decreased by 86% to $29 million for the period under review from 2011’s $206 million.

He said that whilst some of the issues were company specific‚ the general operating environment combined with the poor pricing conditions place the South African PGM sector under real pressure.

“Aquarius has felt these impacts but has swiftly resolved to conserve cash and protect the value of its in-the-ground reserves and resources by placing Marikana and Everest under care and maintenance. This is a responsible reaction to the price environment as sustained production surpluses merely raise the level of above-ground metals inventory‚” he said.

“The unfortunate side of this decision is the human cost of job-losses but some success has been achieved in placing about one thousand employees into alternative employment. As the market recovers - and there is no reason to doubt that it will - Aquarius will be well placed to re-build its production profile‚” Murray said.

Aquarius failed to declare a dividend in 2012‚ after declaring a dividend of US 8 cents in 2011. - I-Net Bridge