BRITISH miner, Anglo American Plc (Angloplat) says strong production from its Unki Mine partially offset lower output at its South African units in the first quarter of this year.
Total group output fell 6% to 586 000 ounces as a result of lower production from its Mogalakwena and Amandelbult mines.
During the period under review, production from Unki Mine increased 17%, reflecting improvements in throughput, grade and recoveries. Unki is an underground mine located in Shurugwi in the Midlands province.
In its production report for the first quarter ended March 31, 2023 Angloplat said Mogalakwena production decreased by 12% to 219 000 ounces as a result of unplanned plant maintenance and mining in a lower grade area.
“Own mined production decreased by 6% to 586 000 ounces, primarily due to lower production from Mogalakwena and Amandelbult, partially offset by a strong production performance from Unki. Mogalakwena production decreased by 12% to 219 000 ounces as a result of unplanned plant maintenance and mining in a lower grade area,” Angloplat said.
“Production at Amandelbult decreased by 5% to 151 500 ounces, primarily due to planned infrastructure closures and the closure of the Merensky Concentrator in Q4 2022. Joint operations decreased by 10% to 84 300 ounces, due to the ramp-down of the Kroondal complex.”
Angloplat added: “These were partially offset by a 17% increase in production from Unki, reflecting improvements in throughput, grade and recoveries.”
The purchase of concentrate was 5% lower at 315 200 ounces, due to lower volumes from the Kroondal joint operation (pool-and-share agreement with Aquarius Platinum, into Kroondal underground PGM mine in South Africa).
It also said lower third-party receipts contributed to the lower volumes.
Refined production decreased by 13% to 626 000 ounces, primarily due to the ramp-up of the Polokwane smelter at the end of January 2023 following its rebuild, and asset integrity work at Waterval smelter as well as the impact of Eskom load-curtailment.
Sales volumes decreased by 17% in line with lower refined production while the average realised basket price was US$2 131/PGM ounce, reflecting lower market prices compared to Q1 2022.
On overall group performance, Angloplat chief executive Duncan Wanblad said production in the first quarter increased by 9% compared to the same period in 2022, driven by the ramp-up of copper production from our new Quellaveco mine in Peru.
“Performance also benefited from the ongoing improvement at our Steelmaking Coal longwall operations, as well as at Kumba and Minas-Rio, our iron ore businesses,” he said.
“These were offset by planned lower copper grades in Chile, lower PGMs production and the transition of De Beers’ Venetia mine from open pit to the new underground section, which results in temporary lower production until the underground operation fully ramps up.”
He said this improved performance reflected the company’s focus on safe and stable operational momentum through the seasonally slower first quarter of the year which also coincides with the wet season in much of the southern hemisphere. – (Newsday)