IMPALA Platinum (Implats) confirmed it would spend R50bn over the next five years on capital projects targeted at increasing production of both concentrate and refined platinum group metals (PGMs).
Capital had been allocated to stay-in-business (SIB) operations as well as new growth projects. The group has said it will produce 300,000 ounces of refined PGMs as a result of projects and debottlenecking.
“Southern Africa is the world’s largest source of primary platinum group metals supply, and Implats’ investment in increased beneficiation capacity and extended life-of mine development at several of our operations will position the country more competitively as a global mine-to-market PGM producer,” said Nico Muller, CEO of Implats.
He was speaking at the South African Investment Conference which earlier heard comments by Anglo American CEO that businesses should “speak responsibly” and support government in its work with communities. “Business must be part of the solution,” he said.
Community disruption was a feature of Implats’ 2021 results presentation with Muller commenting that the ongoing consequences of Covid had led to elevated absenteeism as well as community dissatisfaction.
Muller said activism in communities had increased both legitimately, from people wanting to create viable businesses, and illegitimately in the form of increased theft of copper cable from operating shallow shafts at Impala Rustenburg as well as illegal mining activities.
“I wouldn’t label it as a [procurement] mafia,” said Muller but he added that tempers among employees had also been stoked by Numsa (National Union of Metalworkers South Africa] which had sought to enlist existing unions members for itself.
“Regional community unrest” was also identified as a reason for on-mine disruptions at assets held by Northam Platinum. Implats and Northam operate mines in South Africa’s North West province.