Lonmin, the world’s third-largest platinum producer, on Thursday reported platinum sales of 126 202 ounces in the quarter to end December 2008.
This is 13,3% lower than the 145 611 ounces sold in the same quarter of 2007.
Making up the first quarter of Lonmin’s 2009 financial year, the December quarter saw the company initiate restructuring programmes at its Marikana and Limpopo operations, where it remains in consultation with representative unions.
“The platinum group metals [PGM] pricing environment during the first quarter of the 2009 financial year remained challenging and the short-term outlook for PGM pricing continues to be difficult to predict,” Lonmin said in a statement to the JSE.
But it said it remained committed to its sales and cost guidance for the 2009 financial year (FY).
Lonmin said in November it was targeting FY09 sales of the same magnitude to those achieved in FY08.
The platinum producer reported sales of 726 918 ounces for FY08. This was despite the company’s decision to suspend its opencast operations from the end of last year as it scaled back on unprofitable ounces.
Lonmin’s opencast operations contributed about 60 000 ounces to the company’s total FY08 sales.
As a result of the winding down of its opencast operations at Marikana, total tonnes mined during the December quarter were flat on the same period in 2008 at 3,1 million.
But the company said its core underground mining operations at Marikana produced 2,7 million tonnes during the first quarter of 2009 — 8% ahead of the same period in 2008.
Concentrators produced a total of 173 232 saleable ounces of platinum in concentrate for the quarter — a 9% decrease from the first quarter of 2008, while refined production was 132 935 ounces of platinum and 243 818 ounces of total PGMs — a decrease of 14% and 12% respectively from the first quarter of 2008.
Lonmin said it would provide an update on its restructuring programmes at its interim results in May. — I-Net Bridge