South Africa’s Impala Platinum will reduce planned spending across its business to reflect current low metal prices, the company said yesterday.
The prices of platinum group metals (PGM), which are used by auto makers for catalytic converters that help curb toxic emissions, have fallen steeply this year, squeezing miners still facing high operational costs.
Platinum prices are down about 15% so far this year amid concerns over global economic growth, while palladium is currently trading around $1 127 an ounce after peaking above $3 000 in March last year, after top producer Russia invaded Ukraine.
The price of rhodium, a scarce, corrosion-resistant PGM, peaked at nearly $30 000 an ounce in 2021, but is currently trading around $4 500.
Implats, the world’s second-largest PGM producer after South African rival Anglo American Platinum, last year announced a R50 billion five-year capital investment programme across its mining and processing assets.
Much of the investment was earmarked for mine development and upgrades, as well as processing facilities and solar power generation at Impala Platinum’s 87%- owned Zimplats in Zimbabwe.
“Planned elevated levels of spend across the portfolio will be adjusted to reflect the prevailing current reality of compressed industry margins,” Implats CEO Nico Muller said in a quarterly production update.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for details of specific projects that could be affected by the reduced spending.
Implats refined PGM production volumes increased by 25% to 885 000 ounces during the September quarter after integrating the newly acquired Royal Bafokeng Platinum.