Northam Platinum’s Full-Year Loss Narrows 51% as Output Improves

  • Output rises 16% but lower platinum prices weigh on miner
  • Outlook remains uncertain, performance rests on higher prices

Northam Platinum Ltd. said its full-year loss halved as production increased 16 percent and the South African miner paid less interest after cutting debt.

The net loss was 508 million rand ($36 million) for the year to June 30, compared with a loss of 1.04 billion rand the previous year, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement Friday. Production of platinum group metals increased to 436,960 ounces. Finance charges fell 73 percent to 40 million rand.

Northam, which operates the world’s deepest platinum mine in South Africa’s Limpopo province, has been struggling to keep a lid on costs and maintain production levels amid platinum group metal prices that fell 25 percent in the period to an average of $831 an ounce. This was only partly offset by a weaker rand during the year, which lowers costs.

“The global economic outlook remains uncertain, resulting in volatile metal markets and exchange rates,” Northam said in the statement. “The group’s financial performance will depend on achieving higher metal sales prices and a stable operating performance.”

Northam’s Zondereinde mine was shut for eight days in June amid rising tensions between unions after two people were killed in a nearby town.

Even so, cash flow generated from operating activities more than doubled to 839.1 million rand, mainly due to the higher production levels.

The stock declined for a second day, dropping 1.1 percent to 47.21 rand at 9:04 a.m. in Johannesburg and paring its advance this year to 79 percent.