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JOHANNESBURG, July 16 (Reuters) - Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) said second-quarter production of platinum group metal (PGM) fell by 41% due to shutdowns in South Africa and Zimbabwe caused by the coronavirus crisis, and warned headwinds put its full-year guidance at risk. The Johannesburg-listed miner, one of the world’s largest platinum producers, said on Thursday total PGM production for the quarter was 665,100 ounces, down 521,600 ounces.
It saw potential headwinds during the second half of the year due to plant repairs, continued power cuts and from intensified impact from the spread of the pandemic.
“Our priorities remain to ensure the safety of our employees and the integrity of our assets and caution that these headwinds could impact our ability to meet full year guidance,” the company said in a statement.
State utility Eskom, which generates the vast majority of South Africa’s power, implemented planned outages that began on Friday and warned that it cannot say how long the new round of power cuts will last.
Full-year PGM production is expected to be between 3.1 to 3.6 million ounces, including platinum production of between 1.45 to 1.65 million ounces, Amplats said.
Refined PGM production during the second quarter decreased by 67% to 407,000 ounces after Phase B unit at its Anglo Converter Plant, responsible for processing and refining output, was temporality closed for repairs during the period.
Mining companies in South Africa are anxious about managing COVID-19 and preventing outbreaks at mine sites where workers are in close quarters and confined spaces.
Amplats said repairs to the processing plants of Phase A unit, which was damaged during a blast, were not expected to be complete until the latter part of 2020. (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Edmund Blair and Muralikumar Anantharaman)