Impala Platinum is back in the black, posting 2019 headline earnings of R3-billion from a headline loss of R1.2-billion in 2018. It is part of a wider rebound among South African platinum group metals producers as they profit from higher prices for rhodium, palladium, iridium and ruthenium.
Just a couple of years ago South Africa's platinum sector was largely consigned, like so many autocatalysts in clunky old cars, to the investment junk heap. Around two-thirds of the shafts were loss-making and the companies were burning cash. Prices were depressed, power and wage costs were surging, and production was vulnerable to labour and social unrest.
But, from the junk heap, old stuff can be recycled anew. And so it is with the platinum sector in South Africa, which is by far the largest producer of the precious metal, sitting atop around 70% of known global reserves. Impala Platinum (Implats) is the latest platinum group metals (PGM) producer to report a head-spinning turnaround.
On Thursday 5 September, the company reported 2019 headline earnings of R3-billion versus a headline loss of R1.2-billion in the previous year. This comes weeks after Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) posted a more than doubling of interim earnings to...