JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – TSX- and JSE-listed platinum company Anooraq Resources is chasing a target of doubling production at its Bokoni mine in South Africa over the next two years, CEO Philip Kotze said on Wednesday.
Speaking during a media visit to the mine located on the eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex, Kotze said that Anooraq was planning to increase production to 160 000 t/m by 2013, which would translate into 240 000 oz/y.
This first phase of planned production increases comes with a price tag of around R600-million, of which Anooraq would be responsible for 51%, while Anglo Platinum would foot the bill for the rest.
Kotze said that the company would aim to fund its portion with profits generated from its current operations. Alternatively, Anooraq also has a R750-million facility that it could draw funds from.
Over the past year, the platinum miner has implemented a turnaround at Bokoni, previously known as Lebowa, when it was owned by Anglo Platinum.
Kotze reported that Anooraq has gone from recording an R80-million loss a year ago, to showing a R20-million profit during its last reporting period.
It also boasted record production figures in September.
The labour restructuring, which affected more than 800 people, saw productivity and efficiency improve by 32%.
The tons milled on the mine increased by 29%, while operating costs were reduced by 19%.
Anooraq had already reduced costs at the mine - which has historically been known as the eastern limb's highest-cost producer - from R1 115/t to about R900/t. Kotze said that the company would aim to further reduce costs to R800/t.
The platinum orebody that Anooraq was sitting on, is the third biggest in the world with a 26-km strike length and above industry average grades of around 4,2 g/t.
Anooraq is positioning this $1,5-billion asset for future growth.
From 2016 onwards, it planned to increase production to about 400 000 t/m at the expected grades of 4,4 g/t, this would deliver 570 000 oz/y, which would push Anooraq in the league of major platinum miners.