Press releases

Reviewed interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2018

SOLID OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE

Styldrift surges ahead

KEY PERFORMANCE FEATURES

  • Safety indicators disappoint
  • Styldrift tonnages grow by 69.2%%
  • Styldrift development revenue grows by 154.4% to R476.5 million
  • 5.9% increase in 4E production to 164.5koz
  • Pt oz production growth of 6.6% to 106.5koz
  • Operational restructure results in fixed cost reduction of 1.9%
  • Maseve transaction concluded
  • Proposed acquisition of Anglo Plat’s 33% holding in the BRPM JV for R1.9 billion

OVERVIEW

The decline in the group’s safety metrics is a disappointing feature of the period under review.  Lost time and serious injury frequency rates deteriorated by 3.1% and 54.6% respectively.  After the reporting period an employee at BRPM South Shaft was fatally injured in a scraper winch related incident.  “On behalf of the board and management, we remember Mr Venizelos de Palma Alfeu with respect and sadness,” said CEO Steve Phiri today.

He added, “We are concerned about the increasing frequency of safety incidents and their reduction is a priority at all levels of the business.

“We shall be diligent about implementing an intensive safety focus particularly in the second half of the year which includes proactively identifying risks and safety hazards; addressing challenging ground conditions by boosting rock engineering resources; along with a focus on proper pre-work assessments.”

The pursuit of value-enhancing opportunities continued in the period under review, and included the conclusion of the Maseve acquisition and RBPlat’s proposed purchase of Anglo American Platinum’s (Anglo Plat) 33% share of the BRPM JV.

“With Maseve we get to extend the life of BRPM South shaft, and the optimisation of further growth at Styldrift beyond 150ktpm as we obtain access to additional concentrator capacity.  The acquisition of the Anglo Plat stake in BRPM gives us greater exposure to one of the highest quality Merensky ore bodies remaining,” commented Phiri.

Owing to the deferral of uneconomic UG2 production, BRPM’s 4E production dropped by 11koz 4E ounces year on year to 128.4koz. 

Continued stakeholder engagement, employee and community development are instrumental in promoting high levels of labour stability.

Financial performance

During the first six months of 2018 RBPlat made significant progress with its strategic value-enhancing transactions. These include:

  • Financial closure of phase 1 of the Maseve acquisition, which relates to the acquisition of immovable property and the Maseve concentrator plant for a consideration of the ZAR equivalent of US$58 million.  Following this acquisition the property and concentrator plant were disposed of to the BRPM JV at cost;
  • Financial closure of phase 2 of the Maseve transaction, which relates to the acquisition of 100% of the shares in and shareholder claims owing by Maseve on 26 April 2018, followed the Department of Mineral Resources’ (DMR) approval of the Section 11 transfer to RBPlat for a consideration of the ZAR equivalent of US$12 million; and
  • The conclusion of legally binding agreements with Anglo Plats wholly owned subsidiary Rustenburg Platinum Mines Limited (RPM) for the acquisition of their 33% interest in the BRPM JV for R1 863 million.

Total platinum ounce production was higher by 6.6% but the revenue-accounted platinum ounce production from BRPM was 7.6% down year on year owing primarily to the deferral of non-profitable UG2 production at BRPM’s South shaft.  This was compensated for however, by a 6.1% reduction in BRPM’s cash operating costs combined with the 12.7% higher revenue per platinum ounce.

Earnings were negatively affected by impairment costs and care and maintenance readiness costs. 

The group continued to benefit from cost-saving  initiatives  associated with the restructuring exercise and cost-saving initiatives, resulting in a  1.9% reduction in the fixed component of our cash costs from 72.7% in the first half of 2017 to 70.8% in the first half of 2018. 

As at 30 June 2018, the RBPlat Group had cash and near cash investments of R729.7 million (2017: R1 664.5 million). Included in this cash balance is restricted cash of R52.5 million ring-fenced for the RBPlat housing project and R84 million earmarked for the payment of the convertible bond coupon.  Despite a 65.9% increase in the Group capital expenditure from R 842.5 million in 2017 to R1 397.8 in 2018, the Group was still able to fund 40.2% (2017: 36.0%) of the 2018 Group capital expenditure from cash generated by operations together with Styldrift on-reef development revenue receipts.

The Group continues to have R2 billion in debt facilities comprising a seven-year term debt facility of R750 million, a five-year revolving credit facility of R750 million and one-year general banking facilities of R508 million. The revolving credit facility remained undrawn at 30 June 2018 while R500 million of the term debt was drawn down. R119.4 million of the general banking facilities was used for guarantees at 30 June 2018.

Operational review

Tonnes delivered to the concentrators increased by 2.9% or 43kt to 1 516kt for the reporting period, with BRPM and Styldrift contributing 1 114kt and 402kt respectively.  Higher Merensky tonnages from Styldrift, together with the deferral of mining of the UG2 at South shaft have significantly boosted the Merensky component of the ore mix to 86%. 

The 4E built-up head grade for the reporting period increased by 4.2% from 3.80g/t (4E) to 3.96g/t (4E). The increase in head grade is mainly attributable to a 32.8% increase in grade at Styldrift as stoping volumes increased 169% and BRPM delivered grades remained consistent.

Total milled tonnes were 3.5% higher year on year at 1 529kt.  Combined with the 4.2% higher built-up head grade and lower concentrator recoveries, both 4E and platinum production grew by 6.6% and 5.9% to 164.5koz and 106.5koz respectively.

Total employee numbers grew to 8 520  in line with project construction activities required to meet the 150ktpm steady state project schedule at Styldrift.

The company’s key efficiency metric of tonnes milled per total employee costed (t/TEC),  increased by 0.6% to 33.2t/TEC.

Operating costs

Description % change 2018 2017
Total cash operating costs 6.1% decrease R1 342 million R1 429 million
Unit cash cost per tonne milled 3.5% increase R1 195/t milled R1 155/t milled
Unit cash cost per 4E ounce 2.2% increase R10 449/4E oz R10 227/4E oz
Unit cash cost per Pt ounce 1.5% increase R16 159/Pt oz R15 913/Pt oz

Capital expenditure

The total capital expenditure for the period under review increased by 63.0% to R1 381 million, reflecting largely the accelerating construction activities and ramp-up to 150ktpm at the Styldrift project.

Total stay-in-business (SIB) capital expenditure reduced to R57 million compared to the same 2017 period. BRPM SIB declined by 22.2% to R42 million compared to the same period in 2017 equating to 3.2% of operating expenditure.  SIB capital expenditure of R15 million was spent at Styldrift to overhaul load haul dump vehicles (LHDs) and drill rigs.

BRPM Phase III replacement project

The total mining scope of the project has been completed with only minor construction activities remaining.   Capital expenditure for the reporting period amounted to R21 million resulting in total project expenditure to date of R1 091 million.

Styldrift expansion project

Development at Styldrift remains focused on establishing the infrastructure, stoping face length and operational resourcing required to reach the targeted 150ktpm. Capital expenditure is aligned with project progress requirements, without compromising a healthy balance sheet, and without disrupting the ramp-up schedule.

During the reporting period, a total of 3.3km of capital development was completed and 402kt ore was delivered to the concentrator.  The 6.8km overland conveyor belt between Styldrift and the BRPM concentrator and the services shaft was commissioned, and progress was made on silo and ventilation shaft construction.  Strike conveyors and other associated ore handling infrastructure were completed in four stoping sections.

Capital expenditure on the project amounted to R1 303 million, bringing the total capital expenditure to R9.76 billion.

OUTLOOK

Reversing the deterioration in key safety metrics is a major objective in the second half-year, as we remain committed to creating a zero harm operating environment.

Styldrift is expected to reach 150ktpm in the last quarter of the year. The Maseve concentrator will be commissioned to handle the increasing Styldrift tonnages while BRPM will continue to benefit from the cost savings achieved in the second half of 2017.  “Maintaining good relationships with organised labour and communities is a powerful driver of our success and will continue to be a core objective in the second half of 2018,” said Phiri.  

Production guidance for the full year is unchanged at 3.35Mt to 3.50Mt at a 4E built-up head grade of between 3.95g/t and 4.04g/t.  Styldrift’s contribution should be 1.2Mt and 1.3Mt. Output of 4E ounces is expected at between 370koz and 387koz for the year with operating costs increases held to below CPI.

Total capital expenditure for the year is estimated to be between R2.9 billion and R3.1 billion.

With South African mine over-deliveries, the platinum market for 2018 is forecast to be in surplus and demand from diesel car autocatalysts and Chinese jewellery has weakened. Without significant supply cuts from loss-making mines, lower platinum prices can be expected. Mine closures would curtail supply of all the other PGMs, leading to increased price volatility of palladium, rhodium, iridium and ruthenium.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

LINDIWE MONTSHIWAGAE  
INVESTOR RELATIONS EXECUTIVE
Tel: +27 (0) 10 590 4517
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 920 7803
Email: lindiwe@bafokengplatinum.co.za    
  MPUELENG POOE
CORPORATE AFFAIRS EXECUTIVE
Tel: +27 (0) 10 590 4515
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 677 0164
Email: mpueleng@bafokengplatinum.co.za

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