JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Toronto- and Johannesburg-listed platinum mining company Atlatsa, which has platinum assets on the northern and eastern limbs of the Bushveld Complex, incurred a net loss of $292.6-million in the nine months to September 30, when its liabilities exceeded its assets by $142.5-million.
The main reasons for the loss were a decrease in production volumes at Atlatsa’s Bokoni mine as well as the impairment of property, plant and equipment.
Bokoni’s operations remain cash negative after capital expenditures and Bokoni shareholders are no longer able to continue funding the mine’s losses, given the absence of reasonable turnaround prospects in the short to medium term.
Following Bokoni being placed under care and maintenance on October 1, all mining and concentrating activities have ceased and an employee retrenchment process has been concluded.
A team will carry out care and maintenance at the mine until December 31, 2019, until which time Rustenburg Platinum Mines will fund the care and maintenance.
Atlatsa’s asset disposal involves Rustenburg Platinum Mines acquiring the company’s Kwanda North and Central Block prospecting rights for R300-million cash and writing off all debt owed by Atlatsa, including debt incurred during care and maintenance.
Rustenburg Platinum Mine has extended a R521-million loan to Atlatsa for the duration of the care and maintenance period to enable Atlatsa to fund its 51% share of Bokoni’s care and maintenance costs.
The incorporation of the Central Block and Kwanda North prospecting rights into Rustenburg Platinum Mine’s bordering operations will increase the probability of their development, which could lead to potential future mining and employment opportunities, chief commercial officer Joel Kesler said in a release to Mining Weekly Online.
Atlatsa will retain 51% of the Bokoni joint venture and Rustenburg Platinum Mines 49%.
Bokoni’s production fell by 31.3% quarter-on-quarter to 253 115 t in the three months to September 30 and platinum group metals output fell to 31 427 oz compared with 44 463 oz produced.
Primary development decreased by 7% quarter-on-quarter to 1 402 m and re-development by 11.4% to 2 030 m.
Recoveries at the concentrator plant remained consistent at 90.2% for the Merensky concentrate and decreased by 0.3% to 86.8% for the upper group two concentrate.