JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Platinum group metals (PGM) mining and marketing company Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), which recorded a spectacular 120% increase in half-year headline earnings per share, is screening the opportunities to use fuel cell trucks in its fleet.
The cash-rich company has declared an interim dividend of R3-billion after achieving another strong financial performance in the first half of the year, on the back of robust market fundamentals.
Each employee will this year receive R4 000 cash plus R4 000 in shares as part of the company’s employee share ownership scheme, which last year paid out R9 000 to each employee.
The company achieved an all-in sustaining cost per platinum ounce sold of $517/oz, versus a realised platinum price of $831/oz.
“We think that by this time next year, we’ll have the largest fuel cell truck operating anywhere in the world,” Amplats CEO Chris Griffith said at Monday’s presentation of sensational results in every aspect of the business, including lifting half-year earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation by 82% to R12.4-billion.
He said investing in the green economy remained key, including in battery technology, where research and development was under way to use PGMs.
The company was itself continuing to reduce emissions and energy intensity in its operations and assessing the potential to use renewable technologies within its portfolio.
These included the launching of a tender process for a 75 MW photovoltaic solar energy plant at the high-performing Mogalakwena mine, where other metal credits resulted in the cost of producing platinum entering the minus range of – $292/oz.
The company was also assessing further potential solar plants at its processing operations and at Unki platinum mine in Zimbabwe, which had record first-half production.
Amplats CFO Craig Miller reported that the company had experienced no currency disruption in Zimbabwe and described the currency change as having both positives and negatives for Amplats, the positives being that as the company translated a portion of its US dollars into local currency, market related rates were being achieved, as opposed to the one-to-one translation previously.
“However, we do see the impact on inflation coming through, not necessarily into our accounts, but it is something we’ll monitor particularly as it relates to the wages of our employees,” Miller added.
Griffith said there had been no disruption to electricity supply in Zimbabwe in the arrangement of buying power directly from the national provider.
A five-year R2.5-billion capital investment programme is under way to reduce sulphur dioxide emission from the company’s smelters.
It is carrying out a revised strategy to leverage the company’s differentiated value proposition still further.
What Amplats previously described internally as a “burning platform” has been turned into a four-part “burning ambition” of technology advancement, fast payback projects, expansion studies and market development.
Its P101 strategy is aimed at beating global benchmarks through modernisation and the use of FutureSmartTM technology.
On the mining front, this involves the advancement of bulk sorting and shovel performance at Mogalakwena in Limpopo, the evaluation of shock-break technology at the Baobab concentrator and modernisation of the underground Amandelbult mine.
On the processing front, trials are planned for coarse particle separation next year, a concept study is under way into fine particle recovery, a project is at feasibility stage for fine chrome recovery and copper circuit debottlenecking is in execution phase at the base metals refinery.
The company has maintained its production outlook for the full year of 4.2-million to 4.5-million PGM ounces (excluding toll material), with PGM sales volumes expected to be in line with refined production of 4.6-million to 4.9-million PGM ounces.
Platinum production decreased 3% to 515 800 oz and palladium declined 4% to 417 500 oz.
There were no fatalities at Amplats’ self-managed operations, with the total recordable injury frequency rate declining to the lowest on record.
“What the company has already been able to demonstrate is a material reduction in fatalities over a number of years,” Griffith said in response to Mining Weekly Online.
Ten to 15 years ago, the company averaged 25 to 30 fatalities a year.
“We’ve been able to introduce engineered safety solutions and reposition the portfolio such that we’re a substantially safer company than we ever have been. That journey continues and we believe that we're now getting to the level of a reduction in incidents and finally getting every employee in the business to really appreciate that the elimination of fatalities is a possibility,” Griffith said in response to Mining Weekly Online.
MAJOR FUEL CELL FEATURE UPCOMING
Mining Weekly will be publishing a major feature on fuel cells in September and companies wanting to advertise in the feature should contact Creamer Media COO Sales and Marketing Reinette Classen at +27 11 622 3744. Those with news should speak to Martin Creamer at the same number.