Aquarius suspends output at Marikana

[] — Aquarius Platinum,the world’s fourth-largest primary platinum producer, said mining was suspended at the Marikana operation in South Africa following the death of five miners.

“I can confirm that the accident happened and that five people are dead,” said a spokesman for Aquarius Platinum.

He said it was too early to say what impact the accident may have on production.

Marikana, a 50:50 joint venture with Anglo American’s Anglo Platinum unit, produced 157,937 ounces of platinum group metals in the 2009 financial year of which 78,969 ounces were attributable to Aquarius.

The accident is the second this month for Aquarius.

On July 1, it cut output targets by a fifth at its Blue Ridge mine due to a suspension of operations and a safety review after two deaths.

Shares in London-listed Aquarius Platinum fell as much as 5.3% while AngloPlats was down as much as 2%.

The five miners at Marikana were killed after a fall of ground trapped seven workers, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) told Reuters on Wednesday.

One other worker is in a critical condition in hospital whilst the other was rescued unhurt, said NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni in a statement.