S.Africa's Amplats says post-strike ramp up ahead of schedule

by Reuters 0

Operational excellence a priority: Lonmin chief

This as operations bounced back from a five-month strike, the company said on Thursday.

[DATA AMS:Anglo American Platinum] (Amplats), a unit of [DATA AGL:Anglo American], also said preparations for the sale of the Union mine and concentrator had been finalised and the sale process had commenced. It gave no further details.

(READ MORE: Strikes commence at three Amplats operations)

The world’s top producer of the precious metal had already signalled its intention to sell Union and its labour-intensive shafts around Rustenburg, the epicentre of the strike, as it switches to more mechanised methods of mining.

The five-month wage strike by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which ended in June, cost the company 424,000 ounces in lost production and it lost a further 108,000 ounces in the subsequent ramp-up.

This meant the strike has overall resulted in production losses for Amplats of 532,000 ounces, worth about 675 million dollars at current spot prices.

The company also said refined platinum production fell 14 per cent to 533,000 ounces in the third quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2013 and its sales guidance for the year remains between two and 2.1 million ounces.

Rival [DATA LON:Lonmin] said earlier this month it had returned to full production earlier than forecast after the strike, which also hit its operations. It exceeded 2013 monthly output levels in both August and September.