ZIMBABWEAN platinum producer Mimosa was by far the best performer for Aquarius Platinum (Aquarius) in the June quarter, which is a telling indictment on the state of the SA platinum sector.
Mimosa reported record platinum group metal (PGM) production as a result of higher volumes, improved head grade and improved recoveries.
The mine’s cash margin for the quarter dipped to 55% from 58% in the March quarter, because of lower ruling dollar PGM prices.
By contrast in South Africa, the Kroondal mine saw its cash margin drop from 31% to 15%, while Marikana went back into the red with its cash margin falling from 15% to a negative 6%.
Cash margins at the group’s Everest mine dropped from 35% to 10%.
The continued excellent performance from Mimosa – which is owned 50/50 by Aquarius and Impala Platinum (Implats) – underlines the potential of the fledgling Zimbabwe platinum mining sector and why it is so important for Aquarius and Implats to reach a workable deal on indigenisation requirements with the Zimbabwe government.
Regarding Zimbabwe’s indigenisation programme, Aquarius chief executive officer Stuart Murray was as tight-lipped over the situation facing Mimosa as Anglo American Platinum chief executive officer Neville Nicolau was on Monday regarding his group’s Unki mine in that country.
Murray said: “The Mimosa mine submitted its indigenisation plan on May 9 in line with the requirements of the Zimbabwean government’s general notice number 114 of 2011.
“There has been no formal acknowledgement of this submission and no further developments to date.”
All three South African mines experienced various production problems which were compounded by lower ruling dollar PGM prices. This, in turn, was made worse by the continued strengthening of the rand against the dollar.
Murray commented: “Operationally, although we were able to expand attributable quarterly production compared to the same period a year ago, volumes from our South African operations fell short of our expectations.
“At Kroondal and Marikana, delays and long lead times for the required new drilling rigs meant that we were required to install our new hanging wall support manually at those mines to meet our unwavering commitment to safety.—Miningmx.com