Northam Platinum continued production growth for the past six months
Northam Holdings expects to report an increase in earnings per share for the six months ended 31 December 2022 (‘H1 F2023’) compared to the corresponding six-month period ended 31 December 2021 (‘H1 F2022’), underpinned by a solid performance from all operations.
The period under review has seen continued production growth as the group strategy unfolds. Challenges remain, particularly in respect of mining inflation, and the potential for further and more severe Eskom load curtailment events, however our capital growth programs remain on-track and demonstrate the power of our counter cyclical investments.
A key feature during H1 F2023 has been the strong production performance from both the Zondereinde and Booysendal mines. Despite Zondereinde tragically suffering three fatalities, the benefits of focussed Merensky stoping in the Western extension, together with logistic decongestion resulting from the ongoing shift of UG2 stoping from the western to the eastern portions of the mine, are starting to show in mining productivity.
Booysendal is delivering strong growth on the back of solid production from North mine, as well as the ongoing ramp-up of South mine. All operations have been subject to numerous Eskom load curtailment events, however, the combination of our comprehensive load curtailment management protocols, as well as on-demand self-generation capacity, have limited consequential production losses.
Development of the Western extension at Zondereinde has progressed well. Booysendal continues to make good progress on South mine whilst recording 8 million fatality free shifts and remaining fatality free since inception. Eland surpassed a maiden 1 million fatality free shifts on 17 November 2022, and continues to ramp-up mineable reserves.
The group’s equivalent refined metal from own operations increased by 11.9% to 393 309 oz 4E (H1 F2022: 351 359 oz 4E).
Group production of chrome concentrate increased by 17.4% to 505 841 tonnes (H1 F2022: 430 697 tonnes), on the back of improvements at all operations.
Unit cost increases were negatively impacted by generally higher mining inflation, as well as slightly depressed concentrator feed grades at Zondereinde, due to the Western extension expansion, and at Booysendal, due to an area of lower grade reef at the North UG2 mine.
Grades at Zondereinde and Booysendal will improve over the coming two years as these growth projects reach maturity. They will further benefit from the operational flexibility accruing from an increase in mineable reserves.
The total cost of purchased concentrates and recycling material increased by 64.1% to R1.6 billion (H1 F2022: R975.6 million), with 4E volumes purchased increasing by 53.8%. The cost of purchased material is based on ruling commodity prices as well as the prill split of the purchased material.