Sibanye-Stillwater, the world's leading producer of platinum group metals, on Tuesday announced that it would provide smelting capacity at its Marikana operations to offset a force majeure declared by Anglo American Platinum nearly two weeks ago.
A force majeure is declared when a company is unable to meet is contractual obligations due to unseen circumstances. Amplats had said it would not be able to fulfil its obligations to clients following a temporary shutdown of a converter plant at its Rustenburg Platinum Mines processing facilities, due to an explosion in February.
Sibanye said it had reached an agreement with Anglo Platinum regarding the processing of all platinum group metals produced from Rustenburg and Platinum Mile operations, as well as nearly half of the minerals produced from Kroondal, at its Marikana processing facilities. This would apply for the duration of the force majeure, set to last 80 days.
The Marikana operations were acquired by Sibanye as part of the Lonmin deal, a R4.3 billion takeover completed in June 2019, which elevated Sibanye to a top global producer of platinum group metals.
Sibanye CEO, Neal Froneman, said the optimised capacity of the Marikana processing facilities would allow the company to "minimise the potential impact" on its contractual obligations to customers and reduce the supply disruption caused by the unanticipated event.
Prior to the force majeure declaration, PGM bearing concentrate from Rustenburg was smelted and refined by Anglo Platinum under a toll processing agreement, while Kroondal and Platinum Mile concentrate was subject to a Purchase of Concentrate agreement, said the company.
The additional material planned to be treated at the Marikana processing facilities will have no impact on forecast production from the Marikana operation which is unaffected by the force majeure event.