Implats’ Q1 FY2021 production increases 18% as Zim operations remain stable

Author Name
Respect Gwenzi
Analysis 2 weeks ago

Harare – South African mining group Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd (JSE:IMP) reported a 18% increase in tonnes milled during the first quarter ended 30 September 2020 (Q1 FY2021) to 6.13 million tonnes compared to 5.21 million tonnes achieved in the prior comparable period.

Implats has operations in Zimbabwe through an 87% stake in Zimplats and 50% stake in Mimosa which it co-owns with Sibanye-Stillwater.

In a trading statement for the period under review, the Group said the increase was primarily due to the maiden inclusion of Impala Canada, but production gains at Marula also aided this performance and helped offset slightly lower milled volumes from Impala Rustenburg and Zimplats.

The Group said the resolution of milling challenges experienced at joint ventures (JVs) resulted in higher volumes from both Two Rivers and Mimosa during the period.

As a result, 6E in concentrate production of 623 000 ounces at managed operations was 11% higher than in the prior comparable quarter.

“JV production from Mimosa and Two Rivers increased by 23% and helped offset the impact of lower third-party receipts in the period”, the Group said.

At Zimplats, mill throughput of 1.67 million tonnes declined marginally due to planned maintenance at the Ngezi concentrator during the quarter, while grade and recoveries were stable, resulting in a 2% decline in 6E concentrate produced of 148 000 ounces (Q1 FY2020: 151 000 ounces).

Milled production at Impala Rustenburg decreased by 2% to 2.96 million tonnes negatively impacted by the residual effect of Covid-19 on labour availability, declining reserves at the shortlife shafts (6 and 9 shafts) and increased Eskom power failures.

Tonnes milled at Marula increased by 8% to 525 000 tonnes (Q1 FY2020: 488 000 tonnes), benefitting from a quick ramp up following Covid-related interruptions and improved mining performance.

The Group’s gross refined 6E production increased by 58% to 870 000 ounces (Q1 FY2020: 551 000 ounces) partly benefiting from the inclusion of saleable production from Impala Canada.

Commenting on the performance, Implats’ Chief Executive Officer, Nico Muller said, “Implats has delivered a strong start to FY2021 with pleasing improvements in safety and a number of notable operational gains. This was achieved despite the continuing challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and is testament to the operational resilience our team has worked so hard to develop and entrench. Production losses attributable to the pandemic in the quarter were minimal and our health, safety and operating protocols have proved effective in mitigating the impact of the virus on our operations, employees, host communities and customers. PGM pricing remains robust and we continue to experience strong demand for our primary products. We are well positioned to continue delivering exceptional value to all our stakeholders in the year ahead.”

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