HARARE – Platinum group metals (PGMs) production at Anglo American Platinum’s (Amplats) local unit, Unki Mine declined by 5 percent to 43 300 ounces in the first quarter of 2019, compared to the same period last year.
PGMs refer to a combination of minerals found in platinum ore and these include platinum, palladium and rhodium, among others.
Amplats attributed the decline to reduced mining, which saw the company draw output mainly from processing stockpiled ore.
“Unki PGM production decreased 5 percent to 43 300 ounces. Platinum production decreased by 6 percent to 19 300 ounces and palladium production decreased by 4 percent to 17 000 ounces largely due to additional Q1 2018 production mined from ore stockpiles,” it said in its first quarter report.
Comparing to the previous quarter, production at Unki was 13 percent below the 49 000 ounces achieved in the quarter ended December 31, 2018.
The Shurugwi based mine is one of the three active platinum producers in Zimbabwe, along with Zimplats and Mimosa.
Meanwhile, Anglo’s total PGM production during the period under review decreased by 6 percent to 998 900 ounces.
Platinum production fell by 5 percent to 471 900 ounces while palladium production dropped by 6 percent to 326 600 ounces.
“Production was also lower in the quarter due to the one-off benefit of additional ore stockpile which increased production at Mototolo and Unki in Q1 2018, as well as Eskom power disruptions and operational challenges across the portfolio in the quarter,” said Anglo which also has operations in South Africa.
The group’s total production was also 3 percent lower compared to the previous quarter.
Sales volumes decreased by 21 percent to 884 900 ounces largely in line with refined production which contracted by 14 percent to 871 200 ounces.
In the outlook, Anglo expects 2019 production to be lower than last year’s.
“PGM production outlook, excluding tolling material from Sibanye-Stillwater, for 2019 is between 4.2 to 4.5 million ounces, including platinum production of between 2.0 to 2.1 million ounces and palladium production guidance of between 1.3 to 1.4 million ounces as guided at the 2018 annual results presentation in February,” it said.
“Production guidance is down on 2018 due to the transition of Sibanye-Stillwater material to a tolling arrangement in place of its concentrate previously purchased by Anglo American Platinum.” – New Ziana