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IMPALA PLATINUM HOLDINGS LIMITED - First quarter production report for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 September 2019

Release Date: 31/10/2019 07:05
Code(s): IMP IMCB22     PDF:  
 
Wrap Text
First quarter production report for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 September 2019

IMPALA PLATINUM HOLDINGS LIMITED
(Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa)
(Registration number 1957/001979/06)
JSE Share code: IMP
ADR code: IMPUY
ISIN: ZAE000083648
JSE Convertible Bond Stock Code: IMCB22
JSE Convertible Bond ISIN: ZAE000247458
(“Implats” or “the Group”)

First quarter production report for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 September 2019

Key highlights

    -   Despite an improvement in safety performance, the Group regretfully reported two employee
        fatalities at managed operations during the reporting period. Implats remains resolute in its
        commitment to achieving our vision of zero harm.

    -   Production at Impala, Marula and Zimplats was delivered to plan. Production from JV
        operations was negatively impacted by a mill failure at Mimosa and scheduled maintenance
        and metallurgical challenges at Two Rivers.

    -   Scheduled maintenance at the Zimplats smelter and at Impala Rustenburg’s acid plant
        impacted refined production, resulting in a build-up in concentrate stocks as expected. 

    -   Implats accelerated the repositioning of its portfolio with an offer to acquire North American
        Palladium, a shallow, mechanised, palladium-rich, and cash-generative asset in Canada.

Implats’ Chief Executive Officer, Nico Muller, commented: “We knew our first quarter would be
characterised by an increase in working capital due to our stringent maintenance schedule at key
processing assets. The unforeseen challenges at Mimosa and Two Rivers were addressed by the
respective management teams, with plans in place to mitigate the impact of the slow-start on full-year
production targets at these operations. The markets for our primary products remain buoyant and we
have taken bold steps to advance our stated strategy of repositioning the Group through the induced
conversion of the dollar convertible bond, and more recently, the announcement of our offer to acquire
North American Palladium. Our leadership remains committed to securing a fair and equitable wage
agreement at our South African operations and we continue to monitor developments in Zimbabwe, with
close interaction and communication with the Zimbabwean government to counter the challenges
presented by the uncertain macro-economic outlook. We remain confident in our ability to deliver to plan
in FY2020.”
                                                              Unaudited             Unaudited
Operational information                                     Quarter ended         Quarter ended
                                                          30 September 2019     30 September 2018

Gross production:
Tonnes milled (excluding associates)              000t            5 214                5 340
Grade (6E)                                         g/t             3.81                 3.87
Platinum in concentrate (mine-to-market)         000oz              334                  349
Platinum in concentrate (third-party and toll)   000oz               54                   49

Platinum refined                                 000oz              281                  369
   Impala platinum refined                       000oz               83                  180
   IRS platinum refined                          000oz              197                  189
Palladium refined                                000oz              161                  207
Rhodium refined                                  000oz               33                   47
Nickel refined                                       t            3 720                3 775

Managed operations production:

Impala 
Tonnes milled                                     000t            3 020                3 152
Grade (6E)                                         g/t             3.88                 4.03
Platinum in concentrate                          000oz              186                  186
Platinum refined                                 000oz               83                  180

Zimplats
Tonnes milled                                     000t            1 706                1 677
Grade (6E)                                         g/t             3.49                 3.48
Platinum in concentrate                          000oz               70                   71
Platinum in matte                                000oz               70                   70

Marula
Tonnes milled                                     000t              488                  511
Grade (6E)                                         g/t             4.43                 4.23
Platinum in concentrate                          000oz               24                   23

JV operations production:

Mimosa
Tonnes milled                                     000t              589                  702
Grade (6E)                                          g/t            3.85                 3.80
Platinum in concentrate                          000oz               25                   30

Two Rivers
Tonnes milled                                     000t              798                  825
Grade (6E)                                         g/t             3.40                 3.51
Platinum in concentrate                          000oz               29                   38

Group and third-party production:

IRS
Platinum refined                                 000oz              197                  189
   Mine-to-market platinum refined               000oz              149                  154
   Third-party and toll platinum refined         000oz               48                   35

SAFETY
Safety remains a key business imperative for the Group. The regression in safety performances during
the last quarter of the previous financial year was extremely disappointing following a period of
unprecedented improvements. This has necessitated increased leadership focus and collaboration with
all stakeholders to arrest the decline and prioritise safe production across all operations.

During the quarter under review, the lost time injury frequency rate of 5.27 per million man hours worked
improved by 7.7% from the 5.71 recorded in the fourth quarter of FY2019 and by 0.6% on the 5.30
reported for FY2019.

Despite this improvement in safety performance, Impala Rustenburg regretfully recorded two employee
fatalities during the reporting period, the first in a tramming incident at 1 Shaft and the second in a scraper
winch incident at 11 Shaft. In addition, Two Rivers, a non-managed joint venture operation, recorded a
fatal incident during the period, its first in seven years. The board of directors and management team
have extended their sincere sympathies to the families and friends of these colleagues. Implats provides
ongoing support to their families, recognising the severe impact of their loss. Each incident was subject
to a rigorous independent investigation and remedial action was taken to prevent reoccurrence.

Implats’ safety strategy is premised on providing an inherently safe work environment, maintaining
leading safety practices and inculcating safe behaviour at all times. Management remains resolute in its
commitment to working with all stakeholders to prioritise safe production and achieve our vision of zero
harm.

PRODUCTION
Gross tonnes milled at managed operations decreased by 2.4% to 5.21 million tonnes during the quarter,
compared to 5.34 million tonnes achieved in the prior comparable period. This was largely due to lower
production from Impala Rustenburg’s 1 Shaft, as plans were progressed to outsource mining operations,
and at Marula where the successful narrowing of the stoping width resulted in improved ore quality.

Platinum in concentrate of 280 000 ounces produced at managed operations was unchanged from the
prior comparable quarter. Across all mining operations (managed and joint venture) platinum in
concentrate production declined by 4.2% to 334 000 ounces (FY2019 Q1: 349 000 ounces) largely as a
result of milling constraints experienced during the reporting period at Two Rivers and Mimosa.

At IRS, lower receipts from the JV operations at Mimosa and Two Rivers, were offset to some extent by
higher receipts from third-parties. As a result, receipts decreased by 9.5% to 187 000 ounces of platinum
in concentrate.

Gross refined platinum produced during the quarter was significantly impacted by planned maintenance
at Zimplats’ furnace and Impala Rustenburg’s acid plant, which constrained processing capacity. As a
result, refined platinum production declined by 24.0% to 281 000 ounces (FY2019 Q1: 369 000 ounces).
In-process inventory consequently increased during the quarter and is expected to be released over the
remainder of the financial year. Forecast refined platinum production for the full year is maintained at
between 1.45 and 1.55 million ounces.

Impala
Milled production at Impala Rustenburg was impacted by lower ore volumes from 1 Shaft (173 000
tonnes) as plans to potentially extend production from this shaft through an outsourced contractor mining
arrangement were progressed. As a result, tonnes milled decreased by 4.2% to 3.02 million tonnes,
compared to 3.15 million tonnes in the previous comparable quarter. The mill grade (6E) deteriorated by
3.6% to 3.88 g/t (FY2019 Q1: 4.03 g/t) primarily as a result of increased off-reef mining at 11 and 20
shafts and higher stoping widths associated with rolling UG2 reef at 10, 11 and 14 shafts. Platinum in
concentrate production was stable at 186 000 ounces supported by good performances across all mining
operations and improved processing recoveries. Refined platinum production, however, was impacted
by constrained Group smelting capacity due to the previously mentioned planned maintenance at
Zimplats’ smelter and Impala Rustenburg’s acid plant. Consequently, refined platinum production was
83 000 ounces, compared to 180 000 ounces in the prior comparable quarter.

Zimplats
After a disappointing safety performance in the final quarter of FY2019, Zimplats’ safety performance has
stabilised with only one lost-time injury reported during the quarter. Zimplats sustained its operational
performance with mill throughput and grade largely unchanged at 1.71-million tonnes and 3.49 g/t (6E)
respectively. As a result, platinum in concentrate produced at the operation during the quarter was
maintained at 70 000 ounces. Some concentrates were sent to Impala Refining Services (IRS) for
processing during the quarter under review as the Zimplats smelter underwent routine maintenance. The
refurbishment has since been completed with the smelter being commissioned from October 2019.

Marula
Marula continues to deliver an improved operational performance. While tonnes milled decreased by
4.5% to 488 000 tonnes, focused mining resulted in a reduced stoping width and delivered a 4.8%
increased grade of 4.43 g/t. As a result, platinum in concentrate production improved by 2.6% to 24 000
ounces during the period under review. Management continues to focus on securing a lasting resolution
to intermittent community disruptions at the operation.

Mimosa
Mining production at Mimosa was maintained during the quarter. However, concentrate production was
impacted by extended repairs to one of the milling circuits. Consequently, mined volumes were stockpiled
during the period and only 589 000 tonnes were milled, 16.1% down on the previous comparable quarter.
Despite the improvement in grade to 3.85 g/t (FY2019 Q1: 3.80 g/t), platinum in concentrate production
decreased by 16.4% to 25 000 ounces (FY2019 Q1: 30 000 ounces) due to lower milled tonnage.

Two Rivers
Challenging operating conditions continue to impact Two Rivers. Tonnes milled decreased 3.3% to
798 000 tonnes (FY2019 Q1: 825 000 tonnes). Accelerated deepening into the neighbouring Kalkfontein
block impacted mill grade which declined by 2.9% to 3.40 g/t. Extended maintenance and metallurgical
challenges at the concentrator during the quarter impacted platinum in concentrate production, which
decreased by 23.4% to 29 000 ounces.

Impala Refining Services (“IRS”)
IRS’s refined platinum production increased by 4.1% to 197 000 ounces (FY2019 Q1: 189 000 ounces)
as higher deliveries from third-party customers were received during the period under review. Mine-to-
market production decreased by 3.2% to 149 000 ounces, reflecting lower receipts from the Group’s joint
venture operations. Third-party volumes increased by 36.4% to 48 000 ounces (FY2019 Q1:
35 000 ounces).

GROUP STRATEGY
At Impala Rustenburg, plans are being progressed to outsource mining operations at 1 Shaft and
complete the closure of 9 Shaft. As previously announced, a “contracted out” mining model was found
to provide the best protection of employment at 1 Shaft during the planned ramp-down of the shaft in the
context of higher than expected rand PGM pricing. A Section 189 (Labour Relations Act) notice was
issued in July 2019 to initiate this phase of the restructuring plan. The original Section 52 notices covering
1, 9, 12 and 14 shafts, which were issued in August 2018, remain in place.

As reported previously, Implats launched a successful conversion invitation to holders of its 2022 US$250
million bond in July 2019. Together with the cancellation of the Groups’ cross-currency interest rate swap
(CCIRS), the conversion reduced the carrying value of Group debt by some R3.0 billion, while removing
the associated annual interest liability of R319 million. A total of 64.3 million new Implats shares were
issued in August 2019 with a total cost of the offer of R524 million, representing an incentive premium of
R510 million and accrued interest of R14 million settled from existing cash balances.

ACQUISITION OF NORTH AMERICAN PALLADIUM
Post the end of the quarter, Implats entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100% of the outstanding
shares in Canadian PGM miner, North American Palladium Limited (NAP). Brookfield Business Partners
LP, NAP’s majority shareholder with 81.0%, was offered C$16.00 per share in cash, while the minority
shareholders will receive C$19.74 per share, in a deal worth C$1 008 million (US$758 million), resulting
in an average total offer price of C$16.77 per share. The deal enterprise value is estimated at
US$708 million (R10.4 billion at US$1:R14.66). The offer will be settled via a combination of existing
cash of US$288 million, cash raised through a metal prepayment of excess inventory of US$120 million
and a loan of US$350 million.

NAP is a Canadian-based primary PGM producer listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), the US
OTC market and the Börse Frankfurt. NAP wholly owns and operates the Lac des Iles Mine northwest
of Thunder Bay, Ontario, and has a shareholding in two exploration properties, the Sunday Lake project
and the Shebandowan Joint Venture. In the 12 months to end June 2019, NAP produced 262 000 ounces
of 6E PGM at a cash cost of R8 550 per ounce and achieved a revenue basket of R18 272 per ounce.

The above information has not been reviewed and reported on by the Group’s external auditors.
QUERIES

 Johan Theron
 Group Executive: Corporate Relations
 E-mail: Johan.Theron@implats.co.za
 Tel:    +27 11 731 9013/43
 Cell:   +27 82 809 0166

 Emma Townshend
 Executive: Corporate Affairs
 E-mail: Emma.Townshend@implats.co.za
 Tel:    +27 21 794 8345
 Cell:   +27 82 415 3770

 Alice Lourens
 Group Corporate Relations Manager
 E-mail: Alice.Lourens@implats.co.za
 Tel:    +27 11 731 9033/43
 Cell:   +27 82 498 3608

Johannesburg
31 October 2019

Sponsor to Implats
Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking

Date: 31/10/2019 07:05:00
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