Aquarius Platinum has revealed that its operations with its Marikana Pooling and Sharing Agreement (P and SA2) are being put on hold as a result of the ongoing low PGM (platinum group metals) basket price.
"Trading conditions in the platinum industry are expected to remain difficult in the short to medium term and these conditions have rendered the operations at the P&SA2 uneconomic," the company said.
Marikana, the group's second operating mine in South Africa, was commissioned in late 2002 and is located on the western limb of the Bushveld Complex, some eight kilometres east of Kroondal in the North-West Province. Aquarius owns 50% of the P&SA2 with Anglo Platinum.
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The group said in a statement on Monday morning that the P&SA2 operations are now being put 'on care and maintenance', which means that the ore reserves will be preserved "until an improved economic climate merits their extraction in the future."
In the six months to December 31st 2011, Marikana production fell by 11% but still produced 27,400 PGM ounces of the total 215,453 PGM ounces attributable to Aquarius, equal to nearly 13% of group production.
The Marikana 4 Shaft and the Marikana concentrator plant is now to be placed on care and maintenance, while the remaining management functions at P&SA2 will be consolidated with those of the P&SA1 at neighbouring site Kroondal.
Preparations for this are now underway and the required consultative processes will being today, Aquarius said.
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