UPDATE 1-Aquarius Platinum suspends some Marikana ops

June 11 Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:31am EDT

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June 11 (Reuters) - Aquarius Platinum said it would suspend operations at its Marikana operations in South Africa, citing low platinum prices, and said trading conditions in the industry were expected to remain difficult in the short to medium term.

Aquarius Platinum, the world's fourth-largest primary platinum producer, said it wanted to preserve the ore reserves at the mine until extraction was economically feasible.

The Marikana 4 shaft and the Marikana concentrator plant would be placed on care and maintenance, the company said.

The management functions at the Marikana pooling and sharing agreement (P&SA2), an agreement between the company and Anglo Platinum, would be consolidated with those of the P&SA1 at Kroondal.

The platinum mining industry has been hit by rising costs and falling prices amid weaker demand, with the spot platinum price falling about 15 percent in the last three months.

"The macro is unlikely to improve materially in the short-term until there are significant supply cuts from the majors, especially Anglo and Impala," Numis Securities' Andy Davidson said.

Aquarius Platinum shares were up 2 percent at 75 pence at 0715 GMT on Monday on the London Stock Exchange.

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