Sibanye-Stillwater, the world’s biggest platinum producer, on Thursday withdrew its operating forecast for 2020 due to coronavirus-related uncertainties and said it would resume gold and platinum operations in South Africa in the next two weeks.
The South African mining industry, which accounts for about 70% of the global mined platinum supply and a major producer of other metals, has come to a standstill, as the government implemented a lockdown to battle the spread of the pandemic.
The country amended the lockdown restrictions last week, allowing mines to conduct operations at a reduced capacity of 50% of normal production during the lockdown period.
The initial 21-day lockdown has already been extended by two weeks and is now due to end on April 30.(https://reut.rs/2VJGDxW)
In February, the firm said 2020 its platinum group metals production from South Africa was expected to be between 1.7 million ounces and 1.85 mln ounces, while gold production was forecast at between 932,000 ounces and 997,000 ounces.
“Operating outlook is complicated by uncertainty relating to the extent of the COVID-19 restrictions and the rates at which production may resume at the South Africa operations beyond the current lockdown period,” the company said.
Sibanye’s U.S. and Zimbabwe operations continue to operate with a reduced workforce.
(By Shanima A; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Rashmi Aich)