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Zimplats Q4 platinum output fell 19%

Cape Town — Zimplats Holdings said Saturday its platinum output dropped 19% in Q4 year on year and was 24% lower than the Q3, to 53,107 oz.

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Palladium output was 16% lower year on year and down 24% from Q3, to 45,367 oz, while rhodium production decreased 17% year on year and dropped 13% quarter on quarter to 4,837 oz.

The company's production of platinum, palladium, rhodium, gold, iridium and ruthenium (platinum group metals) in Q4 decreased 18% year on year and was down 23% quarter on quarter to 115,908 oz. The operating cash cost was 744/oz 6E, up 21% on year and 30% on quarter, it said.

The drop in production was due to an increase in concentrate stocks and the build-up of inventory in the furnace after a 122-day major rebuild shutdown, Zimplats said.

"The furnace inventory build-up is expected to reverse during the financial year and it is anticipated that all the concentrates stockpiled will be smelted before the end of the year," the company said.

Zimplats, in which Impala Platinum holds an 87% interest, said ore milled increased 2% year on year but fell 2% quarter on quarter due to lower running time, to 1.669 million mt.

"Running time for the quarter was constrained due to the planned mill reline shutdown at the Selous Metallurgical Complex concentrator," the company said.

Zimplats said the quarterly head grade of PGMs remained unchanged year on year and quarter on quarter at 3.48 g/mt, with recovery rates also remaining the same on year and on quarter at 79.1%.

Total operating cash costs rose 4% year on year and 5% quarter on quarter to $93,108 million, with costs lower in the Q3 as the furnace was down on its major rebuild, Zimplats said.

The company set aside $1.3 million on exploration drilling projects conducted during the quarter on existing mines, it said.