Looking at the bright side
Latest report viewed too bullish by some despite wide price predictions
PRECIOUS METALS trading firm Johnson Matthey (JM) is predicting the platinum price could range between US$700/oz and $1 400/oz over the next six months. One key variable will be the action of investors through the exchange-traded funds that played a major part in driving the platinum price down to the current low levels of around $800/oz when they sold unexpectedly large quantities of platinum in third quarter 2008.
Another is likely produc- tion trends from South African mines now starting to cut back on output, plus delayed expansions in reaction to current rock-bottom prices.
Latest to do so is Lonmin, which has announced it will shut down its Limpopo mine and its opencast operation at its Marikana division. Lonmin CEO Ian Farmer has also put the proposed Akanani mine on care and maintenance “for the short term”. He predicts Lonmin’s platinum sales for the year to end-September 2009 will be around the same level as the 732 124oz produced in financial 2008. On previous forecasts Lonmin was hoping to hit 900 000oz in financial 2008 and around 1m oz next year.
On 7 November Eastern Platinum (Eastplats) announced it would increase production at its Crocodile River mine to 140 000oz in 2009 from 120 000oz this year but would delay and/or rationalise the group’s other expansion projects.
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