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Northam Platinum posts deeper fiscal H1'18 loss

Northam Platinum Ltd. on Feb. 23 booked a net loss of 283.8 million South African rand, or 81.1 South African cents per share, for the first half of its fiscal 2018, sinking deeper in the red from the loss of 226.6 million rand posted a year ago.

The miner flagged the steeper loss earlier this month, attributing the results to preference share dividends of its Zambezi Platinum (RF) Ltd. unit, which are consolidated into the group's results.

Northam's sales dropped to 3.35 billion rand, from 3.46 billion rand a year ago, resulting from reduced sales volumes as the company continued to build its inventory for the commissioning of a new furnace. Revenues from platinum, which represents about 60% of the group's production basket, plunged 17.8% year on year amid lower prices and sales volumes.

The group's sales volume fell 3.9% year on year to 249,865 ounces of 6E equivalent refined metals, with sales of 4E platinum group metals dropping to 209,861 ounces, though production rose 6.4% on an annual basis to 291,407 ounces of 6E equivalent refined metals, including 246,473 ounces of 4E platinum group metals.

Operating cost rose to 3.13 billion rand from 2.77 billion rand a year ago. Group operating profit decreased to 338.8 million rand from 352.0 million rand a year earlier, and Northam's board skipped dividend payments given difficult conditions in the mining sector.

Cash and equivalents at the end of the period had fallen to 379.2 million rand from 2.23 billion rand a year ago as CapEx more than doubled to 2.2 billion rand from 778.0 million rand.

CEO Paul Dunne said the company plans to create up to 6,500 new mining jobs in the next four to five years by spending as much as 5.5 billion rand on growth projects, Mining Weekly reported, citing comments at a media event after the results were announced.