South African platinum giant Anglo American Platinum has announced that its net profit for 2019 more than doubled over 2018 on the back of higher platinum group metals (PGMs) prices, as the company recorded its first-ever fatality-free year. The annual results were published the same day CEO Chris Griffith announced he will step down as CEO and executive director in April 2020.

Anglo American Platinum’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) jumped from R14.5bn ($973.5m) in 2018 to R30bn ($2.014bn) in 2019. Production remained stable over the previous year, with total production of PGMs increasing by 1%. Prices for PGMs rose in 2019, with a 27% increase in platinum, a 48% increase in palladium, and a 73% increase in the rhodium price driving positive results for the company.

Anglo American Platinum expects demand for rhodium and palladium to continue growing through 2020 due to tighter emissions rules causing an increased demand for the catalytically active metal.

Following a push for improved health and safety operations after two employee deaths in 2018, Anglo American Platinum recorded its first-ever fatality-free year.

In a statement, Griffith said: “For the first time in Anglo American Platinum’s history, we have had no workplace fatalities at our managed operations in the year. Our intense focus on eliminating fatalities is yielding positive results and, while we are proud of this milestone, we also need to eliminate injuries and extend our focus to our non-AAP managed joint venture operations.”

Griffith’s departure from the company comes after more than seven years as its CEO. The company said in a statement it was Griffith’s decision to pursue other career opportunities.

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