Johannesburg - South Africa's fourth-largest platinum producer Northam said its smelter rebuild is on track for completion in December and that platinum group metal production in the first four months of its 2009 financial year was 14% higher year-on-year.
The cash-flush Northam is continuing with the feasibility study on the 103 million ounce Booysendal resource despite a possible takeover bid from Impala Platinum. In the current financial year, which ends in June, Northam is spending R50m on the study, half of which has already been spent.
"Initial indications that the Booysendal project will follow a modular production ramp-up approach remain unchanged," Northam said.
Northam's output of metals in concentrate climbed 14.3% in the four months to end-October to 113,910 oz and sales volumes were up 20 544 oz, generating revenues of R1.3bn. Operating cash flow was R242m.
Northam has a capital expenditure budget this year of R352m and has spent R122m of that. The major item is R75m towards the smelter rebuild and R106m for a deepening project.
"The smelter rebuild is proceeding well, in line with the planned schedule and within budget, and remains due for recommissioning at the end of December 2008," Northam said.
"The decline to 16 level is expected to be complete by the end of the financial year after which related development and infrastructure for mining on 15 level will commence."
Northam is toll treating its concentrate while its smelter is being rebuilt, but this will have financial implications.
"The longer metal pipeline in terms of this agreement will affect unit sales during the first half of the financial year with a consequential effect on earnings per share and headline earnings per share," it said.