Aquarius Platinum's output rises amid regulatory uncertainty, higher costs

Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:00am EST

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Jan 28 (Reuters) - Aquarius Platinum Ltd, the world's fourth-largest platinum miner, reported a 7 percent rise in second-quarter output attributable to the company, despite higher cash costs at its key Kroondal mine in South Africa and a continued dip in platinum prices.

The miner, which operates in South Africa's platinum belt that is prone to labour unrest, said attributable output rose to 84,528 ounces in the three months ended Dec. 31 from 78,987 ounces a year earlier.

Production attributable to Aquarius from its main operation at Kroondal, a venture with Anglo American Platinum in the northwest province of South Africa - rose to 55,152 ounces from 51,262 ounces.

However, cash costs at Kroondal rose 2 percent while prices of platinum group metals fall 9 percent from a year earlier.

Aquarius also said proposed tax changes and regulatory uncertainty in Zimbabwe had impacted its ability to plan future production levels and capital allocation for its Mimosa mine in the country.

Miners in Zimbabwe have felt the heat from President Robert Mugabe's controversial "indigenisation" policy, which seeks to give local blacks majority stakes in foreign firms operating in the country.

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