Crocodile River mine put on care and maintenance

Canada's Eastern Platinum (Eastplats) (TSX:ELR) will place its South African Crocodile River mine (CRM) on "care and maintenance", the company announced on Tuesday.

This follows Eastplats' decision in April to pull funding for the project. As operations scale down, 92% of employees will be either terminated or retrenched.

Production at the South African mine will wind down by July and "will not resume until it is clear that there can be economic and sustainable production from CRM," the company said in a release.

Barlplats Investments, a subsidiary of the Canadian miner, will run the care and maintenance phase to "ensure that the mine remains in a state of operational readiness."

Increasing costs, falling metals prices and South African labour unrest have all contributed to the decision, said Ian Rozier, president and CEO of Eastplats.

In April, the company announced that costs per ton milled at CRM had risen by 82% since 2007. During that same time the PGM basket price fell by 17% in Rand terms.

"This is a very regrettable outcome" said Rozier. "However, BML’s Care and Maintenance proposal is the best for all stake holders since nobody wants to see the mine close permanently."

Eastern Platinum has four properties in South Africa.

Creative Commons image by: Martin Magdalene.