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JOHANNESBURG  - Impala Platinum said on Thursday gross tonnes milled at its managed operations decreased by 2.4 percent to 5.21 million tonnes during the quarter ended September 30 from 5.34 million tonnes in the prior period.

Implats attributed the reduction to lower production from Impala Rustenburg’s 1 Shaft as plans were progressed to outsource mining operations, and at Marula where the successful narrowing of the stoping width resulted in improved ore quality.

Platinum in concentrate of 280,000 ounces produced at managed operations was unchanged from the previous quarter.

Across all mining operations, managed and joint venture, platinum in concentrate production declined by 4.2 percent to 334,000 ounces, largely as a result of milling constraints experienced at Two Rivers and Mimosa.

Scheduled maintenance at the Zimplats smelter in Zimbabwe and at Impala Rustenburg’s acid plant impacted refined production, resulting in a build-up in concentrate stocks as expected.

Chief executive officer Nico Muller said markets for Implats' primary products remained buoyant and the company had taken bold steps to advance its strategy of repositioning itself through the induced conversion of a dollar convertible bond, and more recently the announcement of its offer to acquire North American Palladium, a shallow, mechanised, palladium-rich and cash-generative asset in Canada.

"Our leadership remains committed to securing a fair and equitable wage agreement at our South African operations and we continue to monitor developments in Zimbabwe, with close interaction and communication with the Zimbabwean government to counter the challenges presented by the uncertain macro-economic outlook," he said.

"We remain confident in our ability to deliver to plan in FY2020.”

Implats said despite an improvement in safety performance, two employees had lost their lives at managed operations during the quarter. It vowed to work towards its vision of zero harm.

- African News Agency (ANA)