Aim-listed Sylvania Platinum reached a new record interim production of 40 003 oz of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold (4E) platinum group metals (PGMs) for the six months ended December 31, despite power disruptions and downtime during the last quarter of the interim period.
The company’s production for the quarter ended December 31 was 19 206 4E PGM ounces.
The company continued focusing on water management at some of its operations.
Listing some of the challenges it is experiencing, Sylvania says the chrome market is depressed, which is putting pressure on chrome miners and may impact on fresh feed sources at some operations.
However, Sylvania’s operations are able to substitute feed with available dump material to run plants at capacity.
On the platinum side, the PGM basket price is contributing to higher-than-planned profits and cash balance for the company.
Sylvania reported a cash balance of $33.8-million at the end of the reporting quarter, compared with $26-million in the preceding quarter.
“The Sylvania group, through the continued diligence of its management and operations teams, has once again produced a strong result in spite of challenges relating to water and power which are both outside of our control.
“Despite downtime and consequential chokes to the processing plants, our teams were able to explore and implement mitigatory measures and produce a solid 19 206 4E PGM ounces for the quarter.
“Historically, the quarter ending December 31 is known to present challenges in terms of a dip in production owing to the host mines' shutdown over the festive period, however, thanks to careful planning and controls, the Sylvania Dump Operations, based in South Africa, were able to perform well,” explained CEO Terry McConnachie.
The recent communication of potential retrenchments at some of the company’s host mines has necessitated that we review its feed strategy – in terms of alternative feed sources – to compensate for the potential loss of any current arisings or run-of-mine material to Sylvania’s plants.
“We have been in similar situations before and I believe that through committed engagement with our host mines, and based on flexibility between current arisings and dump material on our operations, we will be able to manage the potential change in ratio of feed sources effectively to minimise or prevent the potential impact of the host mines downsizing,” McConnachie confirmed.
The performance in the first half of the year has established a robust production base for the company to build on and puts it on track to deliver on its targets for the year.
The company stated in a release on Friday that, with all its Project Echo modules now fully commissioned, barring the Tweefontein milling and flotation 2 project that has been delayed pending the completion of a power supply upgrade by the power utility scheduled towards the end of 2020, and the new milling and chrome beneficiation circuit commissioned at Lesedi, management continues to focus on plant optimisation of the installed infrastructure to improve PGM recoveries and concentrate quality.
“Following the successful commissioning of PGM grade and recovery optimisation projects, incorporating proprietary processing modifications at Millsell, Doornbosch and Tweefontein during the past year, the opportunity has been identified to roll this circuit modification out to Mooinooi and Lannex plants.
“This process circuit modification uses enhanced fine screening technology for more efficient upgrading and recovery of PGMs,” Sylvania noted.
The company further explained that commissioning of the new Lannex mill, as part of the Lannex plant life-extension project initiated in 2019, is scheduled for April or May.
The new mill will enable the plant to improve processing efficiencies and profitability based on the current feed sources and further enable the plant to accommodate alternative coarser feed sources, such as run-of-mine fines from underground or open cast operations, which will contribute to extend the life of the Lannex operation.