Mining Sector: Aquarius Platinum up despite challenging first half
Industrial relations in the southern African mining industry, and in particular the platinum sector, were volatile and strained throughout the entire period, while platinum group metal prices remained low.
Revenues fell to $179m - down from $252m a year ago - and mine earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation dropped by 24% to $22m.
Mine operating net cash flow decreased by $63m to a $38m outflow (H1 2012: inflow of $25m) with group attributable production falling by 27% to 156,787 PGM ounces.
Chief executive Jean Nel said: "The period under review was one of the most challenging in the history of the company.
"Industrial relations in the southern African mining industry, and in particular the platinum sector, were volatile and strained throughout the entire period, whilst at the same time, platinum group metal prices remained low.
"In South Africa, the Aquarius management team persisted with its focus on restoring operational credibility at the Kroondal mine.
"In this regard I am pleased to report that both of the significant processes we committed to, being the migration to owner operator and the implementation of the revised hanging wall support regime, were completed on time and below budget.
"The implementation of these two initiatives, combined with a focused and motivated work force at Kroondal contributed to Kroondal's production improving by 11% relative to the pcp whilst unit costs only increased by 3%.
"Given the macro environment this was a pleasing performance which would not have been possible without a motivated effort by the entire Kroondal work force.
"At Mimosa the solid production performance continued, with the conclusion of the indigenisation term sheet between Mimosa and the Government of Zimbabwe, particularly pleasing. The Mimosa management team is currently focused on addressing the high cost inflation being experienced at Mimosa.
"The satisfactory operational improvements notwithstanding, Aquarius remains acutely aware that despite the improvements, the company continued to consume cash during the period. The metal price improvements and weakened Rand/Dollar exchange rate in January 2013 combined with the fact that the once-off costs associated with the two aforementioned processes and the closure of the Marikana and Everest mines are now completed, is expected to substantially reduce cash consumption and enable the company to start producing cash at mine level."
GCM Resources [LON:GCM] - a London-based resource exploration and development company - has announced that William McIntosh has been removed as a director of the company and his employment terminated.
The sector's top risers were Forte Energy [LON:FTE], Arian Silver [LON:AGQ] and Baobab Resources [LON:BAO] - up by more than 20%, over 14% and more than 12% respectively.
The biggest fallers wer Namakwa Diamonds [LON:NAD] - down by nearly 23% - and African Eagle Resources [LON:AFE] - down by just over 19%.
[LON:AGQ] share price was +1.76p at 14.13p
[LON:AMI] American Investment Trust share price was +10.88p at 326.88p
[LON:AQP] Aquarius Platinum share price was +3p at 71.5p
[LON:BAO] share price was +3.01p at 32.88p
[LON:BEM] share price was 0p at 13p
[LON:BKY] share price was 0p at 28p
[LON:CEY] Centamin Egypt Ld share price was +1p at 61.3p
[LON:CHL] share price was +0.28p at 9.03p
[LON:CZA] share price was -0.75p at 18.25p
[LON:FDI] Firestone Diamonds share price was +0.01p at 3.13p
[LON:FRES] share price was -5.5p at 1663.5p
[LON:FTE] share price was +0.42p at 2.44p
[LON:GCM] GCM Resources share price was -0.75p at 29.75p
[LON:GEMD] share price was +0.63p at 172.63p
[LON:HOC] share price was +3.4p at 436.6p
[LON:KMR] Kenmare Resources share price was +0.21p at 37.33p
[LON:VED] Vedanta Resources share price was -6.5p at 1268.5p
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