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Amplats posts lower first-quarter output

Amplats CEO Craig Miller

Amplats CEO Craig Miller

Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater

23rd April 2024

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online

     

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Platinum group metals (PGM) miner Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has reported a decrease in 5E metal-in-concentrate production of 7% to 834 100 oz for the quarter ended March 31, compared with the 901 200 oz produced in the same quarter of last year.

Notably, the group’s own-managed PGM production decreased by 6% year-on-year to 504 300 oz, while the purchase of PGM concentrate decreased by 10% year-on-year to 329 000 oz.

Refined PGM production, which comprises own production, excluding tolling, was 628 000 oz, similar to the prior comparable quarter.

PGM sales were similar to last year’s first quarter, at 707 500 oz.

Amplats’ 5E PGM production comprises platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium and iridium, plus gold.

In the quarter under review, Amplats achieved 27 months of operation without a work-related fatality, demonstrating the company’s unwavering commitment to safe operations.

CEO Craig Miller says the group’s cost and capital expenditure optimisation initiatives, as well as a restructuring process that was announced in February, are progressing successfully.

He adds that, while metal-in-concentrate production for the first quarter is lower than the same period in 2023, reflecting a temporary impact of the restructuring process, Amplats remains on track to deliver on its operational guidance for the full 2024.

Amplats set its guidance for the full-year at between 3.3-million and 3.7-million ounces of metal-in-concentrate and refined production.

Amplats is undertaking cost optimisation initiatives to improve its competitive position and ensure the long-term sustainability of the business. The majority of cost savings will be realised in the second half of the year.

MINE ACTIVITY

The 6% year-on-year decrease in Amplats’ total PGM production from its own mines was driven by lower output at the Amandelbult and Mototolo mines, while the Mogalakwena and Unki mines delivered output at similar levels to the first quarter of last year.

PGM production from Amandelbult decreased by 16% year-on-year to 127 100 oz, owing to lower recoveries and tonnes milled. The lower milled tonnes was a result of plant equipment breakdowns and challenging ground conditions.

The Mototolo production decrease of 10% year-on-year to 61 900 oz was owing to lower throughput from mobile mining equipment stoppages, which was associated with the implementation of human proximity detection systems, and challenging ground conditions as the Lebowa shaft reaches the end of its life.

The Mototolo mine is, however, achieving higher grades, which helps to offset lower mine throughput. Amplats initiated a new mining shift cycle to increase underground production from the mine and improve efficiencies.

The Der Brochen project, which will replace the Lebowa infrastructure closures, is currently being executed with production expected to ramp up in 2025.

Production from the Mogalakwena mine was in line with the prior corresponding quarter, at 219 500 oz, but 17% lower compared with the fourth quarter of 2023. Amplats is mining lower-grade material at the mine while a newly commissioned rope shovel will support the mine achieving its yearly production guidance and grade.

With Amplats having sold its 50% interest in the Kroondal mine in the fourth quarter of last year, production from this mine is being reported as a third-party purchase of concentrate in the reporting quarter.

On a like-for-like basis, and including the Kroondal volumes, Amplats’ purchase of concentrate decreased by 10% year-on-year to 329 800 oz, reflecting lower receipts from third parties and a planned ramp-down at Kroondal.

Toll refined PGM production increased by 10% in the quarter under review to 160 200 oz.

Commenting on the PGM basket price, Miller says the average realised basket price for the first quarter of the year was $1 483/oz, which is 30% lower compared with the first quarter of last year.

Notably, the rhodium and palladium prices were 61% and 38% lower year-on-year, respectively.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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