Aquarius Platinum halts operations at another mine
Everest mine placed on 'care and maintenance'. Company blames labour strife, lower metal prices
Aquarius Platinum Ltd suspended operations at a mine in South Africa, its second closure in as many weeks, as the industry continues to grapple with low prices, rising costs and labour strife.
Shares in Aquarius fell to a decade-low of 52,8 pence on Thursday on the London Stock Exchange. They were down 9% at 54,35 at 0844 GMT.
Aquarius, the fourth-largest platinum producer, said it was placing its Everest mine on care and maintenance “pending better prices and improved industrial relations.”
The Everest mine near Mashishing town contributed 21% to group production in 2011.
Aquarius suspended operations at its Marikana joint venture last week.
The industry has been hit by rising labour, power and equipment costs and falling prices amid tepid demand for the metal used to build emissions-cutting catalytic converters in automobiles.
Canada’s Eastern Platinum Ltd said last week that it was considering job cuts at its Crocodile River Mine in South Africa.
The price of platinum has fallen about 8% in the last three months.
“If enough production has been taken off the table across the industry then prices would start to recover. But I don’t see any short-term recovery,” Seymour Pierce analyst Asa Bridle said.