Impala Platinum reports declines in concentrate and PGM production

Impala Platinum in its First quarter production report for the period 1 July to 30 September 2021, highlights the following:

  • A 20% improvement in the reported lost-time injury frequency rate, but a 5% deterioration in the reported all injury frequency rate. Regrettably, one fatality, resulting from a tramming accident at Impala Rustenburg in August.
  • Total 6E concentrate volumes decreased 6% to 809 000 ounces, with a 5% decline in managed volumes to 592 000 ounces, a 3% decline in JV production to 138 000 ounces and 16% lower third-party receipts of 80 000 ounces.
  • Gross 6E refined and saleable production volumes declined 15% to 741 000 ounces, aligned with scheduled processing maintenance, with stable 6E sales volumes of 707 000 ounces.

Implats’ Chief Executive Officer, Nico Muller, commented: “After a slow start, operating momentum improved during the quarter as we completed our annual scheduled processing maintenance, the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic receded in South Africa and global logistical constraints started to ease. The improved organisational flexibility installed over recent years enabled the Group to manage several headwinds at the start of FY2022, including unprotected industrial action and intermittent power provision at Impala Rustenburg and a shortage of critical skills at Impala Canada.

This is a credit to our people, who continue to demonstrate remarkable adaptability, resilience and innovation.

PGM markets are experiencing heightened volatility due to global macroeconomic factors and supply-chain constraints impacting automotive production. However, at Implats, we continue to benefit from robust absolute pricing for our products. The sustained demand from our customer base is indicative of the strong underlying fundamentals for PGMs.”

PRODUCTION

Gross tonnes milled at managed operations decreased by 6% to 5.76 million tonnes during the quarter, with lower volumes reported at Impala Rustenburg and Impala Canada offsetting gains at Zimplats.

Milled grade improved marginally to 3.64g/t and, together with improved recoveries and yield, the decline in 6E concentrate production of 592 000 ounces at managed operations was limited to 5%. 6E concentrate production from the joint ventures at Mimosa and Two Rivers declined by 3% to 138 000 ounces.

Impala Refining Services (IRS) 6E in concentrate receipts from third-party and toll customers declined by 16% to 80 000 ounces, resulting in gross Group concentrate production declining by 6% to 809 000 ounces.

Refined 6E production, which includes saleable ounces from Impala Canada, declined by 15% to 741 000 ounces, with the annual scheduled processing maintenance, which was completed during July and August, contributing to the decline.

In the prior comparable period, gross refined volumes befitted from unconstrained processing capacity, with the annual maintenance brought forward into the Covid-impacted Q4 FY2020. As a result, excess 6E in-process inventory increased by circa 40 000 ounces and the Group ended the period with circa 120 000 ounces of excess stock, which is expected to be released before year end.

6E sales volumes of 707 000 ounces were unchanged from those in the prior comparable period.

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