Aquarius Platinum production up 7% despite challenges

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The company performed well despite challenges of lower platinum prices, continuous labour unrest in the platinum sector as well as regulatory uncertainty in Zimbabwe.

Production at their Kroondal mine was maintained at 1.867 million tonnes, up 1 per cent compared to the previous quarter.

Their Mimosa mine also continues to operate well with a production increase of 1 per cent to 629,101 tonnes despite cost pressures which has increased in recent quarters.  

“The highlight of the second quarter was undoubtedly the continued increase in production and reduction in costs at Mimosa and specifically at Kroondal which is now consistently producing at levels higher than at any point in its 10 year life,” said Jean Nel, chief executive officer of Aquarius Platinum in a statement.

He further stated that production at Platinum Mile was reduced due to industrial action at Anglo Platinum however the company still managed a credible performance.

“Platinum Mile’s production for the quarter was at reduced levels following interruptions in its feed caused by industrial action at Anglo Platinum, but still managed a credible performance for the half year,” he added.

Metal prices also fell during the quarter. The average platinum price decreased by 3.9 per cent, palladium increased by 0.2 per cent, rhodium decreased by 4.6 per cent and gold also fell 4.3 per cent on average.

Nel also stated that the company is concerned about the proposed tax changes and regulatory uncertainty in Zimbabwe as it affects their ability to plan future production levels and capital allocation for its Mimosa mine in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe’s indigenisation policy seeks to give local Zimbabweans a majority stake in foreign firms operating in the country.

Nel confirmed that the company are in talks with the Zimbabwean government and are hopeful that an agreement will be reached soon.

“The continued regulatory uncertainty in Zimbabwe is of particular concern to us as it impacts Mimosa’s ability to plan future production levels and capital allocation efficiently. Discussions with the Government of Zimbabwe continue and seeing as we share the Government of Zimbabwe’s vision for a healthy growing Zimbabwean platinum mining sector, we remain hopeful the matters could be agreed in due course,” he added.