Announcements 2010

Trading statement

Shareholders are advised that both the group's earnings per share and headline earnings per share for the year ended 30 June 2010 are estimated to be between 170 and 190 cents.


Shareholders are advised that both the group's earnings per share and headline earnings per share for the year ended 30 June 2010 are estimated to be between 170 and 190 cents. This compares with earnings per share of 183.7 cents per share and headline earnings per share of 172.2 cents per share reported for the previous comparable period ended 30 June 2009.

Total PGM sales volumes were approximately 18% higher than the previous comparable period which combined with a marginally higher average Rand basket price received resulted in significantly higher total revenue for the group.

The weighted average number of shares in issue at 30 June 2010 was 360 291 885, compared with 343 162 299 at 30 June 2009.

The preliminary results for the year ended 30 June 2010 will be released on or about 20 August 2010.

The information contained in this announcement has not been reviewed or reported on by the company's auditors.

Johannesburg
10 August 2010

Sponsor
Barnard Jacobs Mellet Corporate Finance (Pty) Limited

Operations resume at Northam’s Zondereinde mine

The management of Northam advises that underground operations resumed last night, Thursday 29 July 2010, at the company’s Zondereinde mine near Thabazimbi.


The management of Northam advises that underground operations resumed last night, Thursday 29 July 2010, at the company’s Zondereinde mine near Thabazimbi.

This comes after the suspension of drilling and blasting operations following an accident on the mine on Tuesday 20 July 2010.

Management estimates production losses of approximately 7 000 ounces (3PGE+Au).

Sponsor
Barnard Jacobs Mellet Corporate Finance (Pty) Ltd

Fatal accident at Zondereinde mine

The management of Northam regrets to advise the death of two employees following an accident at the company’s Zondereinde division this morning.


The management of Northam Platinum Limited (Northam) regrets to advise the death of two employees following an accident at the company’s Zondereinde division this morning, Tuesday 20 July 2010.

Initial investigations this morning, conducted by management, members of the safety inspectorate of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and union representatives, indicate that the accident was the result of a localised fall of ground in a cross-cut some 1 350 metres underground. The area had been supported with grouted roofbolts.

Drilling and blasting activities have been suspended while management implements an audit of support compliance and ground conditions throughout the underground workings.

No one else sustained any injuries as a result of the accident.

The names of the deceased are being withheld until their next of kin have been advised.

Distributed by:

Russell & Associates, Johannesburg
Tel: +27 (0)11 880 3924
Fax: +27 (0)11 880 3788

Sponsor
Barnard Jacobs Mellet Corporate Finance (Pty) Ltd

Jubilee and Northam sign MoU

Jubilee Platinum plc and Northam Platinum Limited are pleased to announce that they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a joint venture to evaluate the construction of a new DC arc furnace facility using ConRoast technology to treat a portion of Northam’s platinum group metal concentrate. 


Platinum companies establish basis to evaluate commercial development of a new ConRoast furnace

Jubilee Platinum plc (Jubilee) and Northam Platinum Limited (Northam) are pleased to announce that they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a joint venture to evaluate the construction of a new DC arc furnace facility using ConRoast technology to treat a portion of Northam’s platinum group metal (PGM) concentrate.

This follows on from the successful completion by Jubilee and Mintek of the development programme for the ConRoast smelting process, and Jubilee’s acquisition of an appropriate site with infrastructure and an independent source of power near Middelburg, in South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province, to establish such a plant.

In terms of the MoU, the joint venture will investigate the feasibility of constructing and operating a 7MVA DC arc furnace facility to treat PGM concentrate emanating from Northam’s Booysendal mine, which is currently being developed.

Commenting on the MoU, Northam Chief Executive Glyn Lewis said today that an additional furnace facility could hold significant benefits for the Northam operations and projects. “Although we remain confident that our current smelting capacity at the Zondereinde mine is adequate for our near to mid-term requirements, an additional facility, in close proximity to the eastern limb, provides us with added smelting optionality while reducing our reliance on Eskom power. This could stand us in very good stead as we turn our attention to the incremental turning to account of the Booysendal resource.”

Jubilee Chief Executive Colin Bird commented “This is a significant development in the commercialisation of the ConRoast technology, following the successful completion of the trial phase of development as advised to the market in early June this year. Northam has played a pivotal role in the research and development phase of the ConRoast technology, having provided platinum concentrate for testing campaigns at the Mintek operation.”

Note to editors

The ConRoast technology, developed and patented by Mintek (South Africa’s national mineral research organization) is licensed exclusively to Braemore Platinum Smelters SA (Pty) Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of Jubilee). ConRoast is a robust, clean and safe DC-arc smelting process for treating high chrome-bearing platinum concentrates from UG2 reef ore and has established itself as an environmentally friendly smelting solution for PGM containing concentrates.

For Jubilee

Jubilee Platinum plc

Colin Bird / Leon Coetzer
Tel +27 (0) 11 253 3280
Tel +44 (0) 20 7584 2155

Bishopsgate Communications Ltd

Michael Kinirons / Nick Rome
Tel +44 (0) 20 7562 3350

 

For Northam

Northam Platinum Limited

Rene Rautenbach
Tel +27 11 759 6000

Russell and Associates

Marion Brower
Tel +27 11 880 3924

Appointment of financial director

Shareholders of Northam Platinum Limited are advised that Mr Ayanda Khumalo has been appointed financial director of the company with effect from 1 July 2010. 


Shareholders of Northam Platinum Limited (Northam) are advised that Mr Ayanda Khumalo has been appointed financial director of the company with effect from 1 July 2010.

Mr Khumalo, a chartered accountant by profession, holds a B Compt (Honours) and B Comm degree from the University of South Africa and has extensive mining and corporate finance experience. From September 2008 he was the group finance executive of Coal of Africa Limited. Prior to that, from 2004 to 2008, he was director – finance, of Aquarius Platinum South Africa (Pty) Limited.

Mr Khumalo takes over from Mr Derek Wolstenholme who, having reached retirement age, has resigned from the board. Mr Wolstenholme will continue to serve the company as group corporate finance manager, with responsibility for special projects.

Distributed by:

Russell & Associates, Johannesburg
Tel: +27 (0)11 880 3924
Fax: +27 (0)11 880 3788

Sponsor
Barnard Jacobs Mellet Corporate Finance (Pty) Ltd

Northam advises revised operating parameters for its Booysendal PGM project – Larger project than initially envisaged

The management of Northam advises that it has completed an optimisation exercise on the Booysendal feasibility study, released to the market in the fourth quarter of the 2009 calendar year.


Larger project than initially envisaged

The management of Northam Platinum Limited (Northam) advises that it has completed an optimisation exercise on the Booysendal feasibility study, released to the market in the fourth quarter of the 2009 calendar year. Following board approval, preparatory work is proceeding on creating access and other infrastructural installations at the company’s 100% owned Booysendal asset on the eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex, which contains a resource of more than 100 million ounces (3PGM+Au).

The purpose of the optimisation study was to determine whether further value could be extracted from the first phase of the Booysendal project. The results indicate that:

  • The start-up of production could be accelerated
  • That the mining layout could support a higher rate of production
  • This would result in lower unit operating costs

On surface, the concentrator plant layout has been optimised to take account of the higher run of mine (ROM) production, resulting in a more efficient process flow and a smaller environmental footprint. Commenting on the results of the optimisation process, Northam chief executive Glyn Lewis said today, “The value engineering process has been a more than useful exercise, with results yielding an enhanced return on a more robust project than we had initially envisaged.”

The optimisation study included a review and update of initial capital expenditure estimates. The total project capex has increased from R3.1 billion (June 2009 money terms) to R3.6 billion (March 2010 money terms) reflecting the effects of inflationary increases on the one hand, and on the other, the firmer estimates for a larger operation. Overall, the total capex estimate is slightly more efficient per unit of designed production (both in terms of tonnes milled and production ounces per annum (3PGM+Au)) .

The acceleration of production build-up follows on the rescheduling of construction: preparatory work is currently in progress to start the establishment of the on-reef boxcut in the first half of F2011. The remainder of the work, including the reverse decline adit, bulk earthworks for the concentrator and offices, permanent access ways and pipelines, will start as soon as the environmental permitting is obtained.

Mill throughput to the plant will increase to 150 000 tonnes per month) 187 500 ROM tonnes through the DMS), an increase of 25%.

The graph below indicates the accelerated schedule for production build-up:

Stockpile build-up

 

Power supply and energy efficiency measures

The revised mine design and higher rate of production are, at full capacity, expected to result in electricity consumption exceeding the ESKOM approved 20MVA during peak demand periods. These requirements will be fulfilled by self-generation of power on site (5MVA) during peak demand times. This will continue until ESKOM is able to supply additional power – currently estimated to be by 2015.

The revised design also makes provision for an energy management system and the introduction of energy recovery strategies. Orepass capacity is being improved which will minimise the requirement for decline conveyors to run during peak shift times. In addition, cycle efficiencies and optimised equipment selection will maximise output in each section, and at the same time reduce the number of sections required to operate.

In summary

  Optimised case Base case
Design capacity (ROM tpm) 187 500 150 000
First concentrate Jan 2013 May 2013
Total cash costs (ROM R/t) 364 404
Total cash costs (milled R/t) 455 505
     
Capital expenditure    
Establishment of mine (R million) 2 034 1 369
Concentrator (Rm) 1 125 1 009
Other (Rm) 465 668
Total (R million) 3 624 3 046

Funding

With capital expenditure requirements for Booysendal peaking in mid 2012, Northam remains confident that the development of the Booysendal mine can be funded from a combination of internal retentions and debt instruments. Significant progress has been made in exploring various options in this regard.

Distributed by:

Russell & Associates, Johannesburg
Tel: +27 (0)11 880 3924
Fax: +27 (0)11 880 3788

Convertor operations resume at Zondereinde mine

The management of the Zondereinde division of Northam advises that convertor operations have resumed at the division’s metallurgical plant with stockpiled material now being fed through the plant.


The management of the Zondereinde division of Northam advises that convertor operations have resumed at the division’s metallurgical plant with stockpiled material now being fed through the plant.

This follows on the announcement on 17 May 2010 advising of an incident at the plant and the shut-down of the converters.

Investigations into the cause of the incident are continuing in consultation with accredited institutions.

The impact on sales of metal during the current financial year will be minimal.

Distributed by:

Russell & Associates, Johannesburg
Tel: +27 (0)11 880 3924
Fax: +27 (0)11 880 3788

Sponsor
Barnard Jacobs Mellet Corporate Finance (Pty) Limited

Northam shuts down convertors at Zondereinde mine

The management of the Zondereinde division of Northam Platinum Limited (Northam) advises that it has shut down the convertors at the division’s metallurgical plant following an incident this morning, Monday 17 May 2010, which caused damage to the precipitator. No one was injured in the incident.


The management of the Zondereinde division of Northam Platinum Limited (Northam) advises that it has shut down the convertors at the division’s metallurgical plant following an incident this morning, Monday 17 May 2010, which caused damage to the precipitator. No one was injured in the incident.

Initial estimates by management indicate that repairs could take around six weeks to complete. Material will be stockpiled while the repairs are being effected. The interruption will have a negative effect on sales for the current financial year. The purpose of the electrostatic precipitator is to remove particulate matter from the off-gas emissions prior to being discharged into the atmosphere via the chimney stack.

Investigations into the cause of the incident have commenced. Further announcements will be made as more details become available.

Northam welcomes new, independent foreign investor: ENRC takes 12% stake in local platinum producer

Shareholders of Northam are alerted to the announcement issued earlier today by Mvela Resources advising of Mvela Resources’ disposal of 12.2% of its holding in Northam to the global diversified mining group Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation plc (ENRC).


Diversified miner ENRC takes 12% stake in local platinum producer

Johannesburg, 26 April 2010. Shareholders of Northam Platinum Limited (Northam) are alerted to the announcement issued earlier today by Mvelaphanda Resources Limited (Mvela Resources) advising of Mvela Resources’ disposal of 12.2% of its holding in Northam to the global diversified mining group Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation plc (ENRC).

Commenting on the transaction, Northam CEO Glyn Lewis today welcomed the presence of ENRC as a significant shareholder in the company: “The interest that ENRC has demonstrated in Northam signals the potential that major global mining groups see in the South African mining space, and in particular, demonstrates confidence in the fundamentals of the platinum group metal (PGM) sector”.

“In addition,” said Lewis, “the transaction provides an opportunity for the diversification of Northam’s shareholder base. And, after Mvela Resources completes its proposed unbundling, Northam’s free float will increase significantly, improving the liquidity and ease of investing in Northam shares in the market.”

Northam’s current assets comprise the long-life Zondereinde platinum mine near Thabazimbi, which produces some 300,000 ounces of PGMs per annum and the 103 million ounce Booysendal PGM project on the eastern limb of the Bushveld complex. As a fully integrated producer, Northam is extremely well placed for growth and industry consolidation in the future.

Work has recently started at the wholly-owned Booysendal project. The first module of this project is likely to be in full production by August 2014, with output of 130,000 ounces annually, thereby lifting the company’s total PGM production by almost 40% to 430,000 ounces annually. The project will create more than 1,000 jobs and will have a significant positive impact on a particularly impoverished region of South Africa through employment, skills development, local economic development and corporate social investment.

“Platinum group metals are once again demonstrating their strong fundamentals; less than two years after the massive price slump in mid 2008 platinum is trading at extremely healthy levels well above US$1 600/oz, and palladium at over US$500, further bolstering the Zondereinde mine’s ability to continue to generate cash as it has done over the years in market conditions considerably less robust than we are seeing now.

Lewis concluded by saying: “We will, in due course, be giving shareholders further updates on the Booysendal project. In the meantime we continue to evaluate various project funding mechanisms which include a number of debt funding options.”

Note to editors

ENRC is one of the world’s leading diversified natural resource companies. It operates six divisions, viz ferroalloys, iron ore, aluminium, energy, logistics and other non-ferrous minerals. ENRC controls sizable reserves of chromium, manganese, iron ore, bauxite, coal, copper and cobalt, supplemented by extensive resources. ENRC is listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange.

H1 results marred by rand metal price slide

Northam Platinum Limited has released results for the six months ended 31 December 2009.


Go-ahead for Booysendal early works programme

Key features

  • 33% increase in sales volumes to 6 134kg (197 206oz)
  • Sales revenues 8% higher at R1.7 billion
  • 21% slide in rand basket price to R254 913/kg (H1 F2009: R322 814/kg)
  • Earnings 42% lower at R216 million
  • Initial capex approved for Booysendal
  • Dividend of 20cps declared

Northam's Zondereinde mine produced a respectable performance in the half-year, with a 33% increase in sales volumes, reaching a high of 6 134kg. The higher sales though were largely negated by the 21% slide in the rand basket price to R254 913/kg.

Expanding on the effect of metal prices and currency on the company's results, Northam chief executive Glyn Lewis explained, "Year-on-year the rand was 9% stronger against the US dollar at R7.66 (H1 2009: R8.40), and exacerbated the 14% decline in the average US dollar price for the company's basket of metals at US$1 035/oz."

The higher sales volumes were largely attributable to the inclusion of 480kg of secondary material, along with 1 013kg of metals in concentrate purchased, in line with our strategy of leveraging our metallurgical infrastructure. The concentrate purchases, valued at R305 million, added significantly to the cost of sales for the half-year.

Total operating costs were 13% higher at R1 094 million, reflecting the effects of inflation on costs of labour, consumables and services. "The increase in unit cash costs however was held to 7%, or R196 273/kg, flattered by the treatment of secondary materials. Compared to the 2009 H1 period, costs associated with refining declined by 36% to R50 million, illustrating once again the cost-effectiveness of using our in-house metallurgical processing facilities post the scheduled smelter rebuild," added Lewis. The net effect was that operating profit for the period was 61% lower at R234 million.

Investment income increased by 49% owing to the inclusion of interest earned on an investment in escrow which is payable to Anglo Platinum upon the transfer to Northam of certain new order mining licences in respect of the Booysendal extension. The group's share of the earnings from the Pandora Joint Venture amounted to R5 million, whilst sundry expenditure declined from R19 million to R2 million.

Attributable profits were 42% lower year on year at R216 million, with the earnings per share lower by 47% at 60cps, reflecting the increased number of shares in issue compared with the previous comparable period.

Alluding to the dividend of 20cps declared, Lewis explained "The dividend cover should not come as a surprise; we have always indicated that we will be conserving cash in line with our expansion requirements. This level of cover may be increased further depending on economic circumstances and the company's performance."

Booysendal

Board approval has been granted for an early works programme at Booysendal, which will be launched with immediate effect. The approved capex of R340 million will be allocated to construction of roads, pipelines and infrastructural facilities ahead of mine construction, which is likely to start in July this year. Going forward, Lewis said the main issues to be addressed would be securing an approval of the Environmental Management Programme (EMP), identifying appropriate contractors, establishing a community forum and exploring funding options.

Prospects

Both production of metals in concentrate and sales volumes are expected to be lower in the second half of the year. Although there are signs that the global economic climate is improving, some uncertainty remains regarding the sustainability of the recovery. At current basket prices earnings in the second half are likely to be at similar levels to the first half.

View the Results for the half year ended 31 December 2009 (PDF - 146KB)