Anglo American Platinum, a leading force in the global platinum market, announced a 9% drop in its refined platinum group metals (PGMs) production for the third quarter, attributing the downturn to water supply disruptions at its processing units and a dip in concentrate production.
Operational Challenges and Market Dynamics
During the third quarter, Amplats produced 909,700 ounces of refined PGMs, falling short of the 994,800 ounces generated in the same timeframe the previous year. The company highlighted that unexpected water supply interruptions at its Rustenburg processing facilities ceased operations for five days, influencing a shortfall of 54,000 ounces in refined PGMs and 26,000 ounces in metal concentrate.
On the mining front, PGM extraction decreased by 2%, with contributing factors including lower ore grades at the Mogalakwena mine and challenging ground conditions at the Amandelbult site, two of Amplats’ primary mining locations.
Addressing concerns related to South Africa’s energy crisis, the company indicated that the power outages, which significantly hampered production in the first half of the year, posed little to no disruption in this quarter. Looking ahead, Amplats reaffirmed its production guidance for 2023, aiming for a target range of 3.6-4.0 million ounces despite current setbacks.
This report comes at a time when the market for PGMs, essential in manufacturing emission-reducing auto catalysts, is experiencing a downward pressure on prices. The ongoing global economic unpredictability has seen a continued decrease in PGM prices this year. Specifically, Amplats noted a 39% plunge in the average price for its PGM basket during this quarter compared to the corresponding period in the previous year.