JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – JSE-listed Kumba Iron Ore’s output for the quarter ended March 31 was 15% higher quarter-on-quarter at 10.34-million tons, owing to improved production at its Sishen mine and good performance at its Kolomela mine, both in the Northern Cape.
Although production at Sishen fell by 11% year-on-year to 7.55-million tons, production was up by 25% quarter-on-quarter, as production rates continued to improve following the unprotected strike at the mine in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The Kolomela mine, which was on track to produce at yearly design capacity of nine-million tons a year in 2013, produced 2.7-million tons for the quarter, marking an increase of 77% year-on-year and a decrease of 4% quarter-on-quarter.
Production at the Thabazimbi mine, in Limpopo, during the reporting period was 103 000 t, 25% less than the 2012 corresponding period and 43% down from December production. This was in line with client ArcelorMittal South Africa’s (Mittal’s) requirements.
Further, pit complexities and geotechnical challenges continued, as the mine neared the end of its life.
Kumba’s total export sales volumes of 9.9-million tons were mostly in line with 2012 levels. This marked a 2% year-on-year decrease, but an 11% quarter-on quarter-increase, mainly owing to the impact of the unprotected strike at Sishen in the fourth quarter of last year.
Domestic sales volumes fell by 33% year-on-year to 882 000 t for the period under review, owing to reduced offtake by Mittal. However, a 6% quarter-on-quarter increase was achieved.
Total finished product stockpile levels amounted to 3.3-milion tons as at the end of March.