Royal Bafokeng Platinum, in its Condensed Consolidated Interim Results for the six months ended 30 June 2021, says that during the first half of the year, the PGM market continued to be characterised by buoyant dollar basket prices, mildly tempered by the rand’s strength, yielding a record rand basket pricing environment and strong operating cash flows.
Notwithstanding an increase in tonnes hoisted, milled and metals in concentrate compared to the first half of 2020, Royal Bafokeng Platinum’s overall performance did not meet the expectations with the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting operational and project construction performance in both the first and second quarters.
The first-quarter performance was severely disrupted by reduced labour availability, during the post-festive break ramp-up, due to increased infection rates and slow return of foreign national employees due to the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Complications related to the re-issuing of work permits to foreign nationals employed by the new volume contractors at BRPM, Eskom load curtailment, adverse weather conditions and the loss of operating momentum at Styldrift due to a fall of ground fatal accident during December 2020, further impacted our first quarter performance.
The loss in operating momentum following the December fall of ground fatal accident and delays in the commissioning of the remaining spare IMS sections have impacted Styldrift’s ability to leverage its installed infrastructure capacity effectively.
Completing the required construction milestones to secure the required IMS flexibility and embedding operational maturity and efficiency remained a key focus for the operational team.
Despite continued steady progress being made on the Maseve MF2 180ktpm and the BRPM tailings storage facility upgrades, there have been further delays at the Maseve MF2 project, with the commission of the upgrade being postponed to the fourth quarter of 2021.
Over the first half of 2021, 4E metals in concentrate production increased by 24.3% to 215.7koz, while the unit cost per 4E ounce decreased by 0.2% to R16 649.
OUTLOOK AND COMPANY GUIDANCE
The key operational focus areas for the second half of 2021 are aimed at developing operating maturity to leverage the infrastructure capabilities of Styldrift. Royal Bafokeng Platinum’s operational focus will be on improving the consistency with which crews meet production targets for stoping and developing by maintaining focus on its key operational metrics.
Production guidance for the full year is revised to between 4.60Mt and 4.75Mt at a 4E built-up head grade of between 3.90g/t and 3.93g/t. 4E ounce production is expected to be between 475koz and 485koz for the year. Total cash operating costs per 4E ounce for the Group are forecast to be between R15 825 and R16 150.
Group capital expenditure is forecast to remain unchanged at approximately R2.2 billion, with SIB expenditure between 6% and 8% of operating cost for the year.