Unki production jumps 17 percent

21 Feb, 2024 - 00:02 0 Views
Unki production jumps 17 percent

eBusiness Weekly

Enacy Mapakame

Anglo American Platinum Limited’s local unit, Unki Mine PGM production for the fourth quarter to December 31, 2023 jumped 17 percent to 61,800 ounces compared to the same period in the prior year, helping narrow the group’s overall decline for the quarter under review.

According to the group, Unki’s PGM growth was also supported by a 13 percent higher throughput, supported by a 5 percent increase in the 4E built-up head grade to 3,39g/t (grams per tonne).

Platinum production at Unki rose 19 percent while palladium was 15 percent ahead of the same period in the prior year.

Overall, total PGM production for Anglo American from own-managed mines decreased by 3 percent to 543,500 ounces primarily due to lower production from Amandelbult and Mototolo that was, however, partially offset by higher production from Unki and Mogalakwena.

PGM production at Mogalakwena increased by 3 percent to 265,300 ounces, as the mining sequence extracted higher grades in the quarter.

This was partially offset by a decrease in throughput resulting from the High-Pressure Grinding Rolls (HPGR) breakdowns at North concentrator.  The stability challenges have been corrected and HPGR is running at full capacity.

Other units, Amandelbult recorded PGM production decreased by 15 percent to 149,900 ounces, due to planned infrastructure closures and poor ground conditions at Dishaba Mine.

Mototolo PGM production decreased by 7 percent to 66,500 ounces, resulting from Lebowa shaft ramp-down to end of life, partially offset by higher recoveries and grade.

Total PGM production from joint operations decreased by 47 percent to 104,400 ounces.

Commenting on the performance, group chief executive officer, Craig Miller said: “Despite the challenging macro environment and the operational headwinds experienced throughout the year, I am pleased that we maintained a safe and stable operating performance in the last quarter, with a strong focus on operational resilience and zero harm.

“Total PGM production was 6 percent lower, as continued poor ground conditions and infrastructure closures at Amandelbult contributed to lower production. We also completed the disposal of our 50 percent interest in Kroondal effective 1 November 2023, resulting in Kroondal production reported as third party POC going forward.”

In terms of sales, PGM sales volumes (excluding trading) increased by 32 percent to 1,166,200 ounces in line with higher refined production.

The average fourth quarter realised basket price of $1,400/PGM ounce was 39 percent lower than prior year period reflecting lower palladium and rhodium market prices. The full year average realised basket price of $1,657/PGM ounce was 35 percent lower than 2022.

“Looking ahead and in response to the prevailing weakness of the PGM basket price and persistent cost inflation, we reset our operational plans in December 2023 and are deploying a series of measures to improve our competitive position while preserving our long-term optionality.

“We are committed to safely delivering production with lower cost and capital requirements whilst deploying value over volume capital allocation discipline. These measures will allow us to capitalise on our industry leading portfolio for the long-term benefit of our stakeholders,” said Miller.

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