Unki Mine sees 4% increase in platinum production

Anglo-American-owned platinum mine, Unki Platinum, recorded a 4% increase in platinum production to 89 400 ounces last year.

BY TAFADZWA MHLANGA

This improvement was from 85 900 ounces mined in the comparative 2018 period.

The improvement comes despite mines in Zimbabwe not receiving uninterrupted power supply as agreed to in signed agreements with government. As a result, these firms have had to deal with between 10 to 18 hours of power blackouts daily.

“Refined platinum production decreased by 18% to 629 700 ounces and refined palladium production decreased by 20% to 396 600 ounces,” Anglo American said in a statement released yesterday regarding its performance for the period under review.

“Excluding the impact of the tolled volumes that were previously purchased as concentrate, refined platinum production was flat and palladium decreased by 6% as improved operational performance at the processing facilities was offset by the impact of Eskom power outages. These power outages in Q4 resulted in an inventory build-up of circa 45 000 platinum ounces and circa 27 000 palladium ounces.”

The miner added that platinum sales volumes decreased 14% to 668 300 ounces and palladium sales volumes decreased 4% to 435 800 ounces due to lower refined production in the period.

“The full year price per platinum ounce for the basket of metals sold increased by 27% to $2 819/ounce compared to 2018 due to 48% and 73% price increases in palladium and rhodium, respectively,” Anglo American added.

But, on an annual basis, platinum production only improved to 2 051 ounces last year from a 2018 comparative of 2 021 ounces.

Regarding its overall performance, Anglo- America chief executive Mark Cutifani said the company delivered on its full year production targets across the business.

“Production is up 4% for the quarter led by the continued successful ramp-up at Minas-Rio in Brazil. Increased production at Metallurgical Coal in Australia was offset by the drought in Chile impacting water availability at Los Bronces…” Cutifani said.

“…as well as the anticipated lower production from De Beers as Venetia transitions to underground in South Africa and Victor reached the end of its mine life in Canada. As planned, we received the operating licence for the tailings dam raise at Minas-Rio before the end of 2019.”

However, the company recorded a drop of 5% in copper production in the period under review to 638 000 karats from a 2018 comparative of 668 300 largely due to a slump at its Los Bronces mine.

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