Amplats processing unit shut down again after water leak

Anglo American Platinum has once again temporarily shut down part of its Rustenburg processing plant, less than a month after it was brought back to service after undergoing repairs that saw the company declare a force majeure to suppliers.

The platinum producer said on Wednesday a water leak had been detected in the high-pressure cooling section of the Anglo Converter Plant (ACP) Phase B unit which had return to production on 12 May.

"This latest action is separate from the repair work that was recently completed at the ACP Phase B unit and there is no damage to the prior repairs or to the furnace," said a statement.

The company said an investigation into potential repairs and the cause of the leak was underway, stating that it had taken a decision to "temporarily close" the unit to ensure the safety of the operating environment and protect both employees and the integrity of the plant. All employees were evacuated safely, it added. 

Phase A and Phase B of the processing plant both shut down earlier this year, prompting the company to issue a force majeure. Repairs to the Phase B unit were expected to cost R150 million, according to the company.

Amplats had earlier indicated that the disruption was expected to slash the production of PGMs by 900 000 ounces in 2020.

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