Anglo American closes furnace at Waterval smelter in South Africa

13 September 2016 (Last Updated September 13th, 2016 18:30)

Anglo American Platinum has stopped a furnace at Waterval smelter in South Africa after detecting a molten matte leak from the unit’s hearth.

Anglo American Platinum has stopped a furnace at Waterval smelter in South Africa after detecting a molten matte leak from the unit’s hearth.

As a result, platinum production for this financial year is expected to be impacted by between 70,000 and 100,000 platinum ounces.

The company also implemented all emergency procedures, including actions to safeguard all site personnel. It completed a preliminary assessment of damage to the furnace, which found that rebuilding the unit should be brought forward. This would mitigate any potential operational risks in future.

"Anglo American has yet to determine the extent of damage that occurred to the furnace."

The unplanned rebuild is expected to cost about ZAR125m ($8.71m), resulting in total capital expenditure for the year to be between ZAR3.5bn ($243.88m) and ZAR4bn ($278.73m).

Anglo American has yet to determine the extent of damage that occurred to the furnace, and expects that rebuilding and associated production ramp-up may take up to four months to complete.

The company’s remaining smelters are operating at full-capacity and consequently, with smelting losses associated with the shutdown not recovered this year.

This furnace at Waterval smelter represents around 20% of the company’s smelting capacity.

The incident did not impact the previously guided range of produced metal in concentrate of 2.3 million to 2.4 million platinum ounces, or on Anglo American’s mining and concentrating activities.