Feb 7 Aquarius Platinum Ltd, the world's
fourth-biggest platinum miner, reported a lower half-year loss
as a rise in output from its Kroondal mine in South Africa
lessened the impact of a drop in prices of platinum group metals
Aquarius, which operates mainly in the strike-prone South
African platinum belt, reported a headline loss of $22 million
for the half year ended Dec. 31, down from $56 million in the
same period a year earlier.
Revenue slipped 2 percent to $113 million, while
attributable production increased 7 percent to 168,014 PGM
ounces. PGM metals include palladium, iridium and other metals.
The average U.S dollar PGM basket price dropped 5 percent in
the half-year from the same period a year earlier, Aquarius
said, while the rand basket price rose 13 percent as the South
African currency weakened.
The company said it was concerned that dollar-denominated
metal prices fell despite a primary deficit in PGM metal markets
during 2013, which is forecast to increase in 2014.
Aquarius said regulatory uncertainty in South Africa and
Zimbabwe and the precarious state of South African industrial
relations have also made longer-term planning difficult.
The world's top three platinum miners are trying to hammer
out wage agreements with South Africa's largest labour body, the
Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, to end to a
two-week strike that the country's Chamber of Mines says is
costing the industry about $18 million a day in revenue.
AMCU members walked out at Anglo American Platinum Ltd
, Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd and Lonmin Plc
on Jan. 23. Workers at Aquarius's main operations are
not on strike.