South Africa: Surging Platinum Group Metals Prices Help Implats Postpone Shaft Closures and 12,500 Layoffs

(file photo).

Surging platinum group metals prices, notably for palladium and rhodium, and operational improvements have helped stave off shaft closures at Rustenburg that had been planned by Impala Platinum. It would be premature to say the jobs bloodbath in the mining industry is over, but it is finally being stemmed.

Platinum group metals producer Impala Platinum (Implats), as expected, on Thursday 27 February reported significantly higher interim earnings for the six months to the end of December 2019.

The company said its headline earnings for the period amounted to R3.4-billion, or 436 cents per share, from R2.3-billion the year before, an increase of 48%. Implats also resumed dividend payments for the first time since 2013, with an interim dividend of R1.25 per share.

There was a social dividend on the jobs front as well. The company said it would maintain operations at shafts 12 and 14 at Rustenburg - which at one point looked set for closure - "for the foreseeable future", securing 10,000 jobs. Shafts 1 and 9 will continue operating for at least three years, securing an additional 2,500 jobs.

The company noted that this comes "at a time when the economy and region can ill afford further job...

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