Shares in Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (LON, ASX: AQP), the fourth- largest producer of the metal, dropped 11% this morning in Johannesburg, the deepest decline since October 2008, after the company announced that Zimbabwe has rejected a joint proposal with Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. (PINK:IMPUY) to meet local ownership rules.
Striking Anglo Platinum workers have blocked roads leading to shafts owned by the miner. Anglo Platinum is the largest platinum producer in the world.
News reports on Saturday say Rio Tinto's Zimbabwe subsidiary Murowa Diamonds has ceded 51% of its equity to comply with a new law that requires Zimbabweans to own the majority of foreign companies.
Rio Tinto says on its website it has completed a feasibility study and received environmental go-ahead to expand Murowa production 8-fold at a cost of $200 million. Saturday's report cast serious doubts on whether the investment, which requires foreign capital, would now be made. It appeared in recent weeks as if Zimbabwe was soft-pedalling the indigenization laws, but Rio Tinto's capitulation has now put pressure on Impala Platinum, struggling to hold onto its $20 billion worth of reserves in the country.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Friday separate wage talks with Exxaro Resources and Impala Platinum had deadlocked but strike action was not imminent.
BusinessDay reports on Friday the global platinum surplus may jump eightfold to as much as five tons after Japan’s worst earthquake slashed car production, reducing the country’s demand for the metal used in cars’ emission systems to the lowest level in 28 years.
Earlier Mining Weekly reported that world number two platinum producer Impala Platinum has shelved plans to increase production at its underperforming 73%-owned Marula mine leading to lay-offs at the company’s largest development project in South Africa.
Impala Platinum said stronger sales and higher prices helped push up first half earnings as much as 65% to between R3.29 and R3.50 Impala Platinum (IMPJ.J: Quote), the world's second-largest producer of the precious metal, said on Wednesday its
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