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Amplats ups guidance as ACP Phase A ramps up

Leading producer Anglo American Platinum has increased 2020 production guidance slightly after rebuilding the Anglo Converter Plant’s Phase A unit in South Africa, months ahead of schedule.
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Anglo American Platinum’s Waterval smelter is near the ACP at its refining operations in Rustenberg, South Africa

Staff reporter

The plant's Phase B unit is now also undergoing a rebuild after a troubled year at ACP, with the entire plant shut down after an explosion in the Phase A unit in February and the threat of an explosion in the back-up Phase B. 

Phase B then ran sporadically this year - "operating past its useful life and therefore challenged with reliability issues" - as Amplats said in its latest quarterly.

Following a series of water leaks, the company closed Phase B last month for a full rebuild in 2021, prompting Amplats to lower both production and sales guidance from an earlier-revised 3.1-3.3 platinum group metals ounces to circa 2.5Moz. 

With the Phase A unit now rebuilt, ramping up and expected to be operating at full capacity by year-end, Amplats yesterday upgraded refined production guidance for 2020 to 2.6-2.7Moz PGM and sales volumes to about 2.8Moz.

"We were able to procure and deliver long lead-time items to site six months ahead of schedule, despite the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains, enabling us to bring forward the rebuild to the end of 2020, ahead of our initial expectations of Q2 2021," CEO Natascha Viljoen said.

The cost of the Phase A rebuild was estimated in March at R500-600 million (US$32-38.6 million).

The company's shares (JSE: AMS) closed up 4.67% in Johannesburg yesterday to R1,247.62, towards the top of a one-year range, capitalising it at R331 billion (US$21.8 billion).