Safety issues threaten platinum production

ANGLO Platinum will produce 150,000 oz less refined platinum than the already reduced 2,6 to 2,65 million oz target it set in July this year because of safety issues, bringing the total cut this year to some 400,000 oz.

The world’s leading platinum supplier said it had lowered its targets for the year from around 2,8 million oz because of the focus on improving safety, strikes and a lack of skilled labour.

“The impact on Anglo Platinum’s production levels in 2008 is currently being evaluated and an estimate will be provided when results for the financial year to 31 December 2007 are released,” the company said in a statement.

Demand for platinum was put at a record 6,925 million oz for 2007, up nearly 3% from the previous year. Supply will be lower than that for 2006 by 135,000 oz and stand at 6,66 million oz.

When Anglo Platinum announced in October it was shutting three shafts at its Rustenburg mine after a worker was killed underground the platinum price shot up to record highs on supply concerns in a tight market.

Anglo Platinum is estimated to have lost 9,000 oz of refined platinum in the shut down that at the prevailing spot price then cost the company some $13 million in lost production.

Anglo Platinum had already shut the mine after a spate of deaths this year to re-educate its workforce on safety. Ralph Havenstein, then CEO, quit his job over the safety issue after 12 workers died at Rustenburg in the first half of the year. It was widely speculated that he had come under enormous pressure from Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll over the safety record at its 75%-held subsidiary. Rustenburg was shut for seven days in June.

Post published in: Economy

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