JSE-listed Royal Bafokeng Platinum Holdings (RBPlat) achieved record platinum, palladium, gold and rhodium (4E) metals production of 124 500 oz in the third quarter, notwithstanding the impact of Covid-19 on operations to date.
The company attributed the record production to an improved operational performance at the Bafokeng Rasimone platinum mine, near Rustenburg, steady ramp-up progress at the Styldrift mine, also near Rustenburg, and improved built-up head grades.
Following the strong performance, RBPlat has revised upward its full-year guidance to between 3.8-million and 3.95-million tonnes, at an estimated built-up head grade of 3.98 g/t 4E, which will yield between 405 000 oz and 420 000 oz of 4E metals in concentrate.
The company originally had its 4E guidance set at between 380 000 oz and 405 000 oz.
The company hoisted 27% more tonnes at 665 000 t in the third quarter at Bafokeng Rasimone, compared with the third quarter of last year.
The company’s Merensky tonnes milled increased only marginally by 0.7% year-on-year to 417 000 t and upper group two tonnes milled in the quarter decreased by 7.8% year-on-year to 153 000 t.
The built-up head grade for the quarter under review and year-to-date improved by 4.4% and 0.7%, respectively, to 4.03 g/t 4E and 4.05 g/t 4E, respectively.
The tonnes hoisted during the quarter from Styldrift totalled 630 000 t, which was almost 49% higher year-on-year.
The total tonnes milled at Styldrift increased by 39% year-on-year to 588 000 t.
RBPlat advised that, as at September 30, it was in a net debt position of R376-million, compared with a net cash position of R701-million at the end of June.
The company had about R1.8-billion of banking facilities available and cash and cash equivalents on hand of R559-million.
The company’s cash flows for the third quarter were impacted by the delayed effect of the lockdown in South Africa and revised concentrate delivery and payment terms resulting from the temporary shutdown of the Anglo Converter Plant.
Anglo American Platinum had this plant temporarily shut down for repairs, which impacted on contract terms with many customers, including Royal Bafokeng.