Unki Mine realized a record performance in PGM production of 201 700 ounces in full year 2019 (FY19) which is a 5% increase from 192 800 ounces recorded in 2018.
The mine is wholly owned by JSE-listed Anglo American Platinum (Amplats).
In a results publication for the year, Amplats attributed the increase to improved underground mining efficiencies, resulting in improved ore deliveries to the concentrator and a 9% increase in tonnes milled as a result of improved feed rate and mill run-time.
The increases were mitigated by a 2% decrease in 4E built-up head grade.
Platinum production for the year under review increased by 4% from 85 900 ounces in 2018 to 89 400 ounces in 2019 while palladium output rose by 5% from 75 500 ounces in 2018 to 79 200 ounces in 2019.
The mine’s economic free cash flow increased to R1 064 million from R525 million due to improved metal prices and increased volume.
The mine delivered an EBITDA margin of 35% against 29% in 2018 while the Group’s own-mine EBITDA margin rose by 44%.
Meanwhile, Group PGM production for Amplats increased marginally in the period under review to 4 440 800 ounces largely driven by record output from Mogalakwena and Unki.
“This strong performance was despite power disruptions in Q1 and Q4 2019, an unprotected strike as Mototolo in Q2 2019, maintenance of a cracked mill and rebuild of the rope shovel at Mogalakwena” the Company said.
The 4E built-up head grade was 4% higher, largely owing to higher grade from Mogalakwena as high-grade ore stockpiles were drawn down, as well as higher grade at Amandelbult arising from a higher proportion of underground tonnes milled relative to lower-grade surface tonnes.
Refined PGM production for the Group in the period under review increased by 11% to 4 480 700 ounces despite the impact of power outages during the year.
PGM production from Amandelbult and Mototolo increased by 3% and 16% respectively over the prior period
The Group’s net sales revenue increased by 33% to R99.6 billion while revenue, excluding sales of purchased metals and tolling, increased by 26%.