- Published on 23 February 2018
Johannesburg, Friday 23 February 2018. Looking back at the company’s performance over the first half-year of F2018, chief executive Paul Dunne referred to a “rewarding period, as the Northam team further consolidated the company’s strategy of optimisation and operational diversification.
“This approach has been fundamental to growing our business and developing a suite of sustainable and long-life mining assets that deliver benefits to all our stakeholders.”
The effect of higher US dollar basket prices, buoyed particularly by rises in the prices of palladium and rhodium, was largely offset by the strengthening South African currency, which kept the increase in the rand basket price to 4.1%. Although Dunne was confident that the platinum price would recover, with an anticipated rise in demand in line with global economic growth, he emphasised the company’s unwavering approach to containing costs, which he described as “fundamental to our sustainability”.
“We believe we have maintained, and continue to strive to maintain our relative position in the lower half of the industry cost curve.”
There were significant developments at both the group’s producing assets, Zondereinde and Booysendal. At Zondereinde preparations are being made to access the new Tumela ground on the mine’s western boundary, while the stoping width at Booysendal was also optimised. The dense media separation plant was commissioned and construction and development of the central complex and aerial rope conveyor at the south section proceeded apace.
The commissioning of the new furnace at the Zondereinde metallurgical complex in December represents a step change to Northam’s prospects and fortunes. The enlarged smelter complex is pivotal to the group’s growth strategy, in that it
- supports the Booysendal expansion programme
- has the flexibility to handle and process higher UG2 volumes
- immediately raises the group’s processing capacity to more than 1 million PGM ounces; and
- significantly reduces our operational risk.
“As the new furnace is steadily ramped up to its full capacity, it will allow the processing of excess concentrate stocks, thereby reducing inventory and providing a boost to revenue in the second half of the financial year,” said Dunne.
Referring to the group’s acquisitions and the focus on core business, Dunne pointed out that the Tumela transaction had been concluded, that the group had purchased a metals recycling asset in Pennsylvania, in the USA and had disposed of its 7.5% holding in the Pandora joint venture. After the end of the period the acquisition of Eland was also finalised.
Dunne concluded by pointing out that the next six months would be one of project execution and bedding down the recently acquired assets.
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