File picture: IOL

JOHANNESBURG - JSE-listed Impala Platinum (Implats) production increased 9.6% to 6 741 000 tons for the first quarter from July to September,compared to 6 149 000 tons recorded during the corresponding period last year. 

Platinum concentrate across Implats’ mining operations aslo rose 6.7 percent to 349 000 ounces against 327 000 oz achieved last year. However, the producer said final refined metal output was significantly impacted by a concentrate stock build-up as a result of scheduled furnace maintenance at both the Impala and Zimplats operations.

“Consequently, gross refined platinum production during the quarter decreased by 6.6 percent to 341 200 oz, compared to 365 200 oz achieved in the prior period,” the world’s second largest platinum producer said in the report.

It said gross refined platinum production would be between 1,51 million oz and 1,56m oz of platinum in 2018. The company said tons milled during the period also increased 22.6 percent to 2 984 000 tons. The company, which accounted for over 16 percent of global refined platinum in 2014, has five main operations including Impala, Zimplats, Marula,

Mimosa, and Two Rivers. Zimplats, which is 86.9 percent owned by Implats, produced 71 000 oz of platinum in concentrate during the quarter. Marula, where Implats has a 77.5 percent stake, increased tons milled by 11.7 percent to 498 00o tons during the period, compared to 446 000 tones in the prior correlating period.

“This increase was achieved following business restructuring initiatives completed in the prior financial year and ongoing multi-stakeholder interventions to prevent community protest action and business interruptions. As a result, platinum in concentrate production improved 9.4 percent to 23 200 oz compared to the 21 200 oz in the prior corresponding period,” the company said.

The Mimosa operations churned out 32 200 oz of platinum in concentrate, an increase of 5.6 percent, during the period under review. 

Two Rivers on the other hand registered a 2.8 percent decrease in tons milled, compared to the 877 000 tons achieved in the previous period.

Platinum in concentrate also decreased 15.6 percent to 41 600 oz, compared to 49 300 oz in the prior corresponding period.

Meanwhile, Implats chief executive Nico Muller said safety remained an issue at their operations, and that the firm was committed to ensuring zero harm, after six of their employees suffered fatal injuries recently.

“The company has provided support to the families of the deceased, while the board of directors of Implats and the management team have extended their very sincere sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of these employees,” Muller said