Sep 29, 2009
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South Africa's Implats resumes operations at mine shaft

Sep 29, 2009

JOHANNESBURG, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Impala Platinum (Implats) (IMPJ.J) said on Tuesday 29 September it had resumed operations at a shaft at its Rustenburg mine in South Africa which was suspended last week following a fatality.

Photo: www.implats.co.za

Spokesman Bob Gilmour said production was resumed on Tuesday 29 September, after it was suspended on Sept. 22.

"(The shaft) is back in production today," Gilmour told Reuters.

Implats said it expects to lose 100,000 ounces in output of Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) in the financial year to end-June as a result of work stoppages during a wage strike and following fatalities at its operations.

The world's second largest platinum producer said earlier this month it had lost 50,000 ounces of platinum during a two-week strike over wages at its Rustenburg and Marula mines.

Output was reduced by another 50,000 ounces after an accident in July at the Rustenburg mine which killed nine mineworkers.

Implats supplies a quarter of the world's platinum and analysts said the company missing its production target could have an impact on supply.

"The potential for tightness now exists in a market regarded as being in balance by producers with signs of recovering autocat demand," Liberum Capital said in a research note.

Implats said that although its stocks of the white metal had been severely impacted, it hoped to meet its clients needs and recover some of the lost production.

Shares in Implats were trading 2.09 percent lower at 177.70 rand by 1059 GMT, compared with a 0.34 percent weaker JSE Top 40 blue-chip index .JTOPI.

(Reporting by Shapi Shacinda; editing by James Jukwey)

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