JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – TSX- and JSE-listed platinum junior Platmin’s flagship Pilanesberg Platinum Mine (PPM), in South Africa’s North West province, would reach its targeted yearly production rate of 250 000 platinum-group metal (PGM) ounces early next year, CEO Tom Dale said on Thursday.
This was about a year later than the initially planned date, he noted in a statement to shareholders.
“PPM’s original planned production build-up to an annualised rate of 250 000 PGM ounces by the end of 2009 was an ambitious target, which has not been met. During the critical start-up phase, industrywide industrial action precipitated ‘go slows’ and work stoppages by contractor employees at PPM, significantly slowing the build-up,” Dale commented.
He explained that these interruptions had negatively affected the mine’s ability to achieve the balance between Merensky and upper-group two ores, which were required for stability and consistency in the processing plants.
However, Platmin’s board of directors had now approved a revised mine plan, which would see the dispatched metal and sales increase to 160 000 PGM ounces in 2010 and to 250 000 PGM ounces by early 2011.
Nevertheless, the one-year delay in reaching full capacity would lead to additional funding requirements for the junior miner, which it said it would likely source through a combination of a short-term working capital facility and some longer-term financing.
Meanwhile, the company reported a net loss of $2,3-million for the third quarter of the year, ended November 30, 2009, down from a net profit of $6,6-million achieved in the previous quarter.
This was mainly as a result of an $8,8-million reduction in foreign exchange gains, the company stated.
A $10,2-million reduction in foreign exchange gains for the first nine months of the year, compared with that of the year before, had also resulted in a net loss of $9,2-million for the nine months.
Platmin had achieved a 24% quarter-on-quarter increase in run-of-mine tonnages at PPM during the third quarter, while sales and metal dispatches from the mine had also increased by more than 50% to 13 406 PGM ounces, compared with 8 872 PGM ounces sold in the three months ended June 2009.
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