Rustenburg-based platinum group metals (PGMs) miner Sylvania Platinum’s Sylvania Dump Operations (SDO) delivered 36 335 oz of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold (4E) PGMs as a result of a good production performance in the six months ended December 31, 2020.
The good production, the Aim-listed company said on February 22, was despite lower volumes of fresh arisings and lower PGM feed grades associated with the scale-down at some host mine operations.
Sylvania CEO Jaco Prinsloo said the implementation of the miner’s process optimisation initiatives, such as the Project Echo modules and improved fines classification technology, have contributed to the company’s solid results and Sylvania “is confident in achieving its target of 70 000 oz of PGMs for the financial year".
Revenue generated for the period increased by 44% to $85.2-million, net of pipeline sales adjustments, benefitting from the strengthening average gross PGM basket price to $3 184/oz in the first half of the 2021 financial year.
Group earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) increased by 58% to $58-million, while net profit increased by 70% to $40.5-million.
Sylvania also announced that there would be an additional windfall dividend of 3.75p an ordinary share to be paid in April 2021.
Despite the positives, Sylvania reported that the period was not without its challenges as the effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic on employees and operations remained a key focus. Although there were no associated production losses during the period, Sylvania said its management continues to follow government guidelines to ensure the safety of employees and protect production against any future impact.
However, as anticipated, the scale-down of certain operations within the host mines has continued to affect the SDO PGM ounce production profile at the Western operations, but improved plant feed rates and stable production assisted in mitigating against any related impact.
Sylvania’s operations also experienced intermittent power outages associated with a combination of breakdowns and the vandalism of power supply infrastructure owned by power utility Eskom.
In terms of opportunities, Sylvania’s Lannex mill and spiral upgrade is in operation after commissioning in the first quarter of the year, and circuit optimisation will continue as run-of-mine feeds stabilise during the third quarter to improve processing efficiencies and profitability.
The MF2 expansion project at Lesedi to improve PGM recovery efficiency and ounce production has commenced and is anticipated to commission during the first half of the 2022 financial year.
Research and development efforts have also been identified as a potential that would enable the company to retreat low PGM grade tailings resources at selected sites that would otherwise have been sterilised, thereby extending the operational life of these operations.