Johannesburg - South African diversified miner African
Rainbow Minerals [JSE:ARM] said on Tuesday that its first-half earnings had
dropped by a third, hurt by a fall in iron ore prices and by rising costs.
ARM, which has interests in nickel, coal, platinum, iron
ore, chrome and manganese, said headline earnings per share for the six months
to end-December had fallen to 654 cents a share, from a restated 937c per share
a year earlier.
Sales of iron ore increased 10% to 7.4 million tonnes, but
the company received less for each tonne as dollar prices for the steel-making
ingredient fell 28%.
Ferrous metals, which include iron ore, are the largest
contributors to the earnings of the group, which has a market value of R42bn.
ARM's board has approved the start of a R5.8bn project that
will expand its Black Rock Mine manganese production from 3 to 4 million tonnes
a year over the next four years.
ARM said it is focusing on growth of production in iron ore,
nickel, coal and copper.
"A positive development since the end of the reporting
period has been the recovery in iron ore, platinum group and manganese ore
prices," the company said.
ARM's shares have gained 1.6% in the last 12 months,
outperforming the Johannesburg bourse's resources index , which has lost 8.2%
over the same period.