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Implats Output Falls 17% as Delivery From Client Stopped

Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. said first-quarter output of the metal dropped 17 percent after the world’s second-biggest producer ceased taking deliveries from a recycling client.

Refined platinum production at Implats, as the Johannesburg-based company is known, fell to 376,000 ounces for the three months through September from 454,000 ounces a year earlier, it said in a statement today. Palladium output declined 21 percent to 228,000 ounces and rhodium slipped 20 percent to 45,000 ounces. Nickel rose 2 percent to 3,880 tons.

Implats owns the Rustenburg mine in South Africa, the world’s largest platinum operation. Its gross refined output of 1.58 million ounces in the year through June included 368,000 ounces treated for other companies. Implats wrote down 1.3 billion rand ($128 million) after a U.S. recycling company didn’t pay for 114,000 ounces processed.

“We had to cancel the arrangement and are currently in litigation with the former client,” spokesman Johan Theron said in an e-mailed response to questions. “We had an exclusive arrangement with the customer and they happened to be one of the larger global collectors” of used auto-catalysts, he said.

Treatment of platinum on behalf of customers declined 31 percent to 181,000 ounces during the quarter from a year earlier. Production at the Rustenburg mine improved 1 percent to 195,000 ounces and climbed 50 percent to 60,000 ounces at Implats’ Zimbabwean unit, Zimplats.

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