TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – South Africa-focused platinum junior Eastern Platinum (Eastplats) on Thursday said despite “encouraging” production improvements at its flagship Crocodile River Mine (CRM), it was still mulling suspending stoping at the Zandfontein section, citing poor market conditions.
On a quarter-on-quarter basis, platinum-group metals (PGM) production was up by almost 8% to 26 412 oz, while production shot up by nearly 29%, or 5 884 oz, when compared with the same period last year.
The mine also achieved a marginal improvement to its mining rate by hoisting 257 250 t of ore in the quarter that ended June 30.
The Vancouver-based company said it intends to embark on a 12 to 18 month development programme at the Zandfontein section that would result in significant increases in mineable reserves, production and operating flexibility in the medium to long term.
“Should there be a marked improvement in industry conditions in the interim, CRM can react quickly and ramp up production at Zandfontein at any time,” the company said in a statement.
At the Maroelabult section, the company had proposed to continue ‘on-reef’ mining operations, along with the development of significant conveyor development ends, with the objective being to achieve a sustainable ore production target of 30 000 t/m.
The TSX-listed company said CRM management is currently carrying out the required consultation process with potentially affected employees and their representatives to review the need for possible restructuring and the potential effect on staffing levels the proposed plan would have.
Following the consultation period and final costing exercise, the company said it would be in a position to provide guidance for production for both 2012 and 2013.