Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG - Impala Platinum (Implats) on Wednesday reported a strong operational performance as it achieved its highest first quarter mill in six years, particularly at its Rustenburg operations.

The world's second largest platinum miner said tonnes milled increased by 5.6 percent to 3.15 million tonnes, compared to 2.98 million tonnes in the previous comparable quarter.

Impala said good performances across all mining operations, supported by increased production from the development shafts, was partially offset by the loss of production from 4 Shaft, which was closed in January 2018.

Consequently, platinum in concentrate increased by 2.8 percent to 186,000 ounces, compared to 181,000 ounces in the prior comparable period. Refined platinum production increased by 35.3 percent to 180,000 ounces from 133,000 in the prior comparable quarter, which was impacted by planned furnace maintenance.

Impala revenues also benefited from a weaker rand and improved palladium and rhodium prices. The miner saw 14.2 percent improvement in revenue per platinum ounce received during the quarter, at R28,355 per platinum ounce, compared to the previous comparable quarter as a result of a weaker rand and higher US dollar metal prices.

Nico Muller, Implats' chief executive, said they were pleased to report improved operational performances during the quarter, particularly at Impala Rustenburg.

"Tonnes milled at Impala Rustenburg increased by 5.6 percent compared to the previous corresponding quarter, reflecting the positive outcomes of various initiatives implemented at the operation to improve safety, production and cost performance," Muller said.

- African News Agency (ANA)