Royal Bafokeng shares rose 3.44 percent on the JSE yesterday.Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)
JOHANNESBURG - Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat), the mid-tier platinum group metals producer, said yesterday that it expected its loss per share in the six months June to narrow as much as 30percent compared to the corresponding period last year.

The miner said the loss for the six months to June would be between 13.5cents and 10.5c a share, representing an improvement of between 10percent and 30percent, compared to a loss per share of 15c a share in the same period last year.

It said it also anticipated an improvement of between 51percent and 70.6percent in headline loss per share, from 15.3c a share to between 7.5c and 4.5c.

RBPlat said notwithstanding an estimated 7percent increase in total ounce production, the revenue-accounted ounce production from the Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine (BRPM) joint venture was approximately 8 percent down on the previous corresponding period, primarily due to the closure of non-profitable UG2 production at BRPM’s South shaft. RBPlat owns 67percent of the BRPM joint venture.

The group said its earnings had also lowered, affected by a R25.9million impairment of feasibility study costs previously capitalised in respect of the Styldrift 100000 ton per month concentrator plant originally envisaged to be built as an addition to the BRPM concentrator plant.

It also blamed the R20.5m care and maintenance and operational readiness costs for the newly acquired Maseve concentrator plant for the decrease in earnings and mine in anticipation of the plant commissioning and ramping up in the second half of 2018, RBPlat said.

RBPlat and its peers have to survive in a low price environment, putting immense pressure on their profitability.

Peter Major, a mining analyst at Cadiz Corporate Solutions, yesterday said the outlook for the platinum price was subdued, with platinum producers battling to survive.

Major said it would take a while for the prices to climb to $950 (R12546) an ounce and said it was unlikely to reach $1000 an ounce.

RBPlat shares rose 3.44percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R25.87.