Impala Platinum Reported 6.7% Decrease In Group Refined Platinum

Impala Platinum reported a 6.7% decrease in Group refined platinum in its first six months to December when compared to the same time last year to 726,700 ounces citing problems at its Rustenburg operations. Group sales were also impacted, declining 11.2% y/y to 648,800 ounces of platinum, primarily due to the unscheduled closure of its number 5 furnace at Rustenburg for extensive maintenance; additionally, ground problems and work stoppages following fatal accidents affected production at 10 shaft and at 20 shaft.

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First-half platinum production at its Impala Rustenburg mines was off by 14.7% at 271,900 ounces as a result. An electrical fire at this same number 5 furnace facility in February will adversely affect production totals again at Impala Rustenburg in the second half with management now projecting outturn for the full fiscal year of 650-670,000 ounces. The 2nd half improvement will flow from the ramp-up of operations at 14 shaft, following closure for an earlier underground fire, and at 16 shaft, as well as expected higher contributions from 11, 12 and 1 shafts.

Production of platinum concentrates at Impala’s Zimplats slipped to 136,200 ounces in H1, a marginal 0.7% decline y/y as the Bimha Mine which is recovering from an underground collapse in 2014 is expected to reach full capacity by April 2018. Marula reported production of 43,200 ounces of platinum, virtually unchanged from the year-ago period, despite safety-related stoppages and limited community unrest.

Mimosa mine reported a 3.4% y/y increase in platinum production to 63,000 ounces on higher throughput. Two Rivers mine posted a sizable 13.8% y/y drop in production in H1 to 83,400 ounces of platinum due to a fall in both tonnage and ore grades. For the Group, management has projected total production for fiscal 2018 of 1.5 million ounces of platinum, in line with the 1.53 million ounces reported in fiscal 2017, owing to production problems at the Impala Rustenburg operations as cited above and its “strategic response to persistently low PGM prices” with the planned closure of unprofitable mining areas.

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Also in this week’s Platinum Market Review:

-Platinum prices have struggled in the past few weeks

-Palladium prices collapsed last Thursday on a confluence of bad press: fears of a possible steeper pace in interest rate increases

-Platinum jewelry sales remained soft in 2017
-Rhodium prices seem at times impervious to movements in its sister metals palladium and platinum

-US light vehicle sales for February 2018 were lower when compared to the same period of last year

Click HERE to read the March 5, 2018 Platinum Market Review

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Material contained in this report is based upon publicly available market data believed to be accurate and reliable and is presented for informational purposes only. KMR assumes no warranty or liability for its completeness, nor guarantees future market performance. Further, KMR assumes no liability for direct or indirect loss or damage from the use of information contained in this report, or from any unforeseen errors or omissions.

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About the author

Patrick Magilligan

PGM sales veteran Pat Magilligan is the Director of PGM Marketing at Key Metal Refining LLC. Magilligan has over three decades of experience in commodities trading, sales, and research, working with the likes of Merrill Lynch, Prudential Securities, and A-1 Specialized Services & Supplies Inc.