- Tragically, one fatality at Union mine in Q4 2016
- Total platinum production (expressed as metal in concentrate) was 2% higher than the prior year at 610,100 ounces. Q4 production is seasonally lower than Q3 due to the impact of the public holidays.
- Strong operational performances achieved by retained own mines, with Mogalakwena up 5% and Unki up 7%, as well as from JV operations' BRPM and Kroondal
- Following the run-out of molten furnace matte at the Waterval Smelter on 10 September 2016, refined production was impacted by 59,000 in the quarter, with total full year refined production impacted by 65,000 platinum ounces
- The Number 1 furnace at Waterval smelter has subsequently been successfully rebuilt and is operating at full capacity
- Refined platinum production decreased 15% to 631,600 ounces for the quarter, reflecting the impact of the Waterval smelter run out reducing feed to the Precious Metal Refinery
- Sales volumes of 606,500 ounces were down 2%, impacted by the Waterval smelter run-out which reduced refined platinum available to sell. In addition, refined production was used in part to rebuild refined inventory
REVIEW OF THE QUARTER
Tragically we had one loss of life due to a work related incident during the fourth quarter of 2016. Mr. Peter Lesholla was fatally injured in a conveyer belt incident on 24 September 2016 at Union Mine. An independent and comprehensive investigation into this fatal incident is under way to understand the circumstances of and learn from this fatal incident in order to create a safer work environment for all.
The Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate ("LTIFR") per 200,000 hours worked at managed operations reduced 36% to 0.61 compared to the LTIFR of 0.95 of Q4 2015.
Total platinum production (metal in concentrate) was up 2% to 610,100 ounces as a result of improved performances during the quarter at Mogalakwena, Unki, and at JV operations' Kroondal and BRPM. Twickenham was on care and maintenance in the second half of 2016, which led to a reduction of 4,200 unprofitable platinum ounces in Q4 2016.
Mogalakwena production increased by 5% to 103,400 ounces driven primarily by a 2% increase in grade to 3.1g/t.
Amandelbult production was constant at 121,100 ounces.
Unki production increased 7% to 19,900 ounces driven by increased tonnes milled and higher grade.
Joint venture production (mined and purchased but excluding third party purchase of concentrate) decreased by 5% to 189,500 ounces. A record production for the quarter at Kroondal and strong production from BRPM was offset by lower production at Bokoni due to closures of unprofitable production from UM2 and Vertical Shafts at the end of 2015. On a normalised basis, excluding production from the closure of the two vertical shafts, production at Bokoni increased 4% year-on-year.
Following the restructuring at Union in 2016, which led to a significant reduction in labour, the mine continued to perform in line with its optimised mine plan, despite the impact of a fatality, maintaining production at 38,100 ounces.
Total mined production from Rustenburg operations including the Western Limb Tailings Retreatment increased 9% year-on-year and 7% on Q3 2016, reflecting a quarter of production not impacted by safety issues. The sale of Rustenburg completed on 1 November 2016. From this date production from Rustenburg was recognised as third party purchase of concentrate and excluded from own production. Rustenburg own mine production therefore decreased by 62%, which is due to only one month of production in Q4 2016.
Production from third party purchase of concentrate increased by 90,900 to 93,900 ounces due to the inclusion of Rustenburg purchase of concentrate from 1 November 2016. This was partially offset by a reduction in purchase of concentrate from other producers.
Refined platinum production decreased by 15% to 631,600 ounces, following the Waterval Smelter run-out in September and subsequent furnace rebuild impacting refined production by 59,000 ounces in Q4 and 65,000 ounces in total during 2016. Mining and concentrating activities were unaffected.
The Number 1 furnace at Waterval smelter has been successfully rebuilt and is operating at full capacity. The rebuild was completed ahead of schedule and at lower expected capital expenditure of R95 million.
Sales volumes for the quarter of 606,500 ounces were less than refined production of 631,600 ounces, due to the impact of the smelter run out which reduced refined production and therefore sales. In addition, refined production was used in part to rebuild refined inventory, which had been drawn down to supplement sales during the precious metals refinery safety stoppage.
Download the Anglo American Platinum Limited Production Report for the fourth quarter ended 31 December 2016