RBPlat upgrades year-end PGM production target after record Q3 showing

ROYAL Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat) said it would produce more platinum group metals (PGMs) this year than previously guided following a record numbers in the third quarter.

Commenting in a trading update today, it expected to produce between 405,000 to 420,000 ounces of PGMs compared to previous guidance made at the half-year of 380,000 to 405,000 oz, itself an adjustment from initial guidance of 450,000 to 480,000 oz.

Unadjusted unit cost guidance of R15,600 to R15,800 oz per 4E was also forecast in the trading update.

The company produced 4E production of 124,500 oz, the most ever for a quarter owing to an improved operational performance at Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine, steady ramp-up progress at phase one of Styldrift, its R14bn project, improved built-up head grades and consistent performance at the concentrators.

Commenting on Styldrift, RBPlat said the project ought to hit its target run-rate of 230,000 tons of ore per month by the fourth quarter.

The financial effects of the lockdown and the interruption to supply of concentrate for refining to Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) were evident at the close of the quarter as RBPlat ended in a net debt position of R376.3m compared to net cash of R701.8m end-June. RBPlat was put on a revised concentrate delivery and payment terms as a result of the failure of Amplats’ refining facilities in February.

The company had R1.8bn in banking facilities available to it and cash and cash equivalents on hand of R559m.