Marula on recovery path

THE world’s second biggest platinum producer Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd (Implats) said yesterday its troubled Marula mine had shown improvements.


“I

believe we have turned the corner at Marula,” chief executive Keith Rumble said in a newsletter, adding that further details would be given when interim results were released on February 27.


In August, when annual results were presented, the South African group said Marula was the biggest operational disappointment, producing only 13 280 ounces of platinum in concentrate — less than half the targeted level.


Rumble said in August that mining methods would have to be revised,

requiring more investment and a delay of 12-18 months until 2007 for full production of around 100 000 ounces.


Implats operations in Zimbabwe were producing according to plan, but the firm would wait to give the go-ahead for a 145 000 ounce-per-year expansion until it was happy with government requirements on mining leases and giving black Zimbabweans stakes in the operations.


Implats also said it expected the global platinum market to remain mostly in balance for the next four to five years after being in deficit recently.


Marketing director Derek Engelbrecht said Implats remained cautious about projected overall production increases from South Africa due to the strong rand , which cuts export income.


“I think we will see growth in supply tempered by South African economics,” he said. — Reuter.