Sibanye Stillwater Q1 PGM output down 10% due to power cuts, US disruptions

(Image courtesy of Sibanye-Stillwater)

Sibanye Stillwater on Tuesday said its platinum group metal (PGM) output declined nearly 10% during the first quarter, impacted by power cuts in South Africa and operational disruptions in the United States.

PGM production from Sibanye’s operations in southern Africa and the United States declined to 480,481 ounces in the first quarter, down from 533,237 ounces during the same period last year.

This was mainly due to the suspension of deep-level production at Sibanye’s Stillwater West mine in the United States after shaft infrastructure damage, which cut production by 20,000 ounces during the first quarter. As a result, Sibanye’s quarterly US PGM production declined 18% to 100,690 ounces compared to the first quarter of 2022.

In South Africa, extended power cuts, cable theft, adverse mining conditions and a planned shaft closure saw Sibanye’s PGM output decline 8% to 379,791 ounces.

Sibanye’s gold production, including output from its 50.1% owned DRDGold, increased 46% to 200,267 ounces, compared to the first quarter of 2022, when operations were impacted by a wage strike.

Despite operational challenges in South Africa, Sibanye maintained its southern Africa PGM production guidance for 2023 within a 1.7-1.8 million ounce range, but cut its forecast for the US PGM operations to between 460,000 and 480,000 ounces.

In February, Sibanye warned that the electricity crisis in the world’s top PGM producer South Africa, blamed on the frequent breakdown of its ageing coal-fired power generation fleet, could cut PGM output by as much as 15%, tightening global supplies of metals mostly used in the automotive industry.

On Tuesday, Sibanye also maintained its gold production forecast, excluding DRDGold output, within a 756,000-788,000 ounce range for this year.

(By Nelson Banya; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)


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