Amplats own-mine output up, sales down in two-fatality quarter

20th July 2017 By: Martin Creamer - Creamer Media Editor

JOHANNESBURG ( – Performance from its own mine operations helped platinum production from Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) to increase in the three months to June 30, but sales volumes fell sharply on technical problems and two mineworkers succumbed to fatal injuries.

Full-year production guidance remains unchanged at 2.35-million to 2.4-million platinum ounces. 

Expressed as metal in concentrate, the output of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed platinum mining company for the quarter rose 5% to 617 100 oz on strong performances from the big opencast Mogalakwena and underground Amandelbult mines, in South Africa, and Unki in Zimbabwe.

Mogalakwena’s production for the quarter was 15% higher, Amandelbult’s 4% higher and Unki’s 10% higher.

Production at the Union mine is being decreased by 3% to 39 800 oz, due to a reduction in mining of Merensky ore, which reduced the overall grade. The sale of Union to Siyanda Resources was announced on February 15, 2017 and is expected to complete by year-end. 

Joint venture (JV) and associates production was down 1% to 201 100 oz, 64 300 oz being the attributable share of JVs and 136 800 oz of concentrate bought from JVs and associates.

JV production was up 10% to 52 900 oz from the Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine and up 2% to 32 000 oz from Modikwa on stoping efficiencies and improvements in productivity, but output from Bokoni fell 10% to 19 500 oz on opencast closure and safety stoppages. Mototolo’s production was 7% down at 29 500 oz on lower grade and Kroondal’s output fell 5% to 67 100 oz on lower grade and a seven-day plant shutdown. 

After being seriously injured in a fall-of-ground incident at Amandelbult’s Tumela mine in April, Nkoliseko Jikumlambo later died in hospital. Two months later Kagiso Ramokgatla was fatally injured in a loader incident at Amandelbult’s Dishaba mine.

Comprehensive independent investigations into these fatal incidents are under way to understand the circumstances and learn from them in order to create a safer work environment for all, Amplats said in a release to Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online.

Refined platinum production decreased by 29% to 528 700 oz on the Waterval furnace number 1 run-out and the Waterval furnace number 2 rebuild, which delayed 65 000 oz of refined production into the second half (H2) of this year.

In addition, a high pressure water leak at the Anglo Convertor Plant resulted in 90 000 oz of refined production moving into H2.

Sales volumes of 600 500 oz were down 26% on last year’s additional sales of metal owing to the recovery at the Precious Metals Refinery after a planned stocktake and safety stoppage.