SA PGM production to fall this year if loadshedding persists, says Implats

PLATINUM group metal (PGM) production from South African was likely to fall this year as a result of loadshedding, said Bloomberg News citing Impala Platinum (Implats).

“If things don’t get better soon then we are likely to have a worse period this year than last,” Impala spokesman Johan Theron told the newswire.

“If it gets worse it will get to a point when you have certain days where we will stop sending people underground.”

South African PGM output last year was probably on average 6% below producers’ initial guidance and one of the worst in the past two decades, said Bloomberg quoting from a report by UBS.

In November last year, the World Platinum Investment Council forecast a supply deficit for platinum of 303,000 ounces owing to lower primary production – a 1.1 million oz turnaround compared to 2022.

Miners have no option but to cut production when loadshedding is implemented, said Bloomberg. “Our operations are running at the capacity required and as stable as possible to support grid stability,” Jana Marais, a spokeswoman for Anglo American Platinum told the newswire.

“We have emergency response plans to manage risks and evacuate employees safely in the event of prolonged power outages.”

Worsening blackouts could lead to the early closure of some marginal shafts, according to Sibanye-Stillwater spokesman James Wellsted. The power crunch also risks stifling appetite to invest in future production.

“How do you develop a mine in an environment where you are not sure whether you have got power or not?” Wellsted said. “Nobody is investing in replacement ounces or growth in the industry.”