Anglo American Platinum Ltd.‘s local unit, Unki Mine’s PGM production increased by 7% to 55 800 ounces during the fourth quarter to December 31, 2020 compared to same period in the prior year.
PGM includes platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, ruthenium and gold.
According to the group, the increase was largely due to higher 4E built-up head grade and higher throughput.
Platinum production increased by 6% to 24 600 ounces while palladium production increased by 10 percent to 22,000 ounces.
At overall group level, total PGM production of 1,076,100 ounces was achieved which was a decrease of 7 percent against Q4 2019, with safety controls and restrictions remaining in place to protect employees from Covid-19.
Platinum and palladium production was down 6% to 497,800 ounces and 338 400 ounces respectively.
Similarly, total PGM sales volumes decreased 24% to 1,125,100 ounces largely due to lower refined production. The decline was offset by a draw-down of refined inventory and trading activities to mitigate the impact to customers.
Chief executive Natascha Viljoen, said the company is now operating at 90% of its normal production capacity because the second wave of Covid-19 has led to an increase in employee infections.
“We had no work-related fatalities at our own-managed operations during the quarter, however, we did see a regression in our safety performance as the uncertainty relating to Covid-19 impacted on stability at the operations.
“Production performance was strong considering the ongoing implications of Covid-19. While refined production was lower, we successfully and safely completed the rebuild of the ACP Phase A unit ahead of schedule and recommissioned the plant on 24 November 2020.
“We were able to reduce the impact of lower refined production on sales by drawing down on refined inventory as well as utilising trading activities to mitigate the impact to customers,” said in an update for the quarter.
Figures from the group show that PGM production at own-managed mines decreased by 8% to 617,800 ounces due to the closure of mined-out infrastructure at Amandelbult and community-related disruptions at Mogalakwena. Unki and Mototolo delivered strong production.
Joint operations PGM production (mined and purchase of concentrate) decreased by 14% to 198,000 ounces.
This was largely due to self-imposed safety stoppages at Modikwa following the fatal incidents, as well as unprotected strike action at both Kroondal and Modikwa.
Refined PGM production, excluding tolling, decreased by 49% to 673,100 ounces. The lower output was due to the Anglo Converter Plant (ACP) unit B closure in the quarter.