On the back of rising platinum prices South African company Northam Platinum has reported an increase in operating profit for the six months ended 31 December 2020, underpinned by a satisfactory performance from all operations, against the backdrop of the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic.
A key feature of first quarter of 2021 has been the company’s positive operational response to the ongoing challenges of Covid-19, whilst maintaining the health and safety of their employees. The strong performance from all the operations has led to the group producing equivalent refined metal comparable to pre-Covid-19 production schedules and at production levels higher than the previous corresponding period.
The group achieved a 15% increase in production from own operations at 352 741 ounces (oz) 4E (total of platinum, palladium, rhodium, and gold, compared to 306 738 oz 4E for the period ended 31 December 2019, notwithstanding the ongoing phased restart of operations, particularly impacting the conventional Zondereinde mine, where only 90% of mining crews have returned to work.
Purchased material decreased by 3.2% to 18 772 oz 4E (H1 F2020: 19 398 oz 4E). The cost of purchased material is determined by ruling commodity prices, resulting in a cost increase of 34.9%.
Group unit cash costs per equivalent refined platinum ounce increased above inflation, primarily due to Eland mine’s production currently being derived from surface sources and purchased at prevailing metal prices.