UK-based PGM metals producer Lonmin has reported a decline in mining with total tonnes mined during the first nine months of the 2009 financial year hitting 8.2 million tonnes, a 1.0 million decline from 2008, but expects sales to improve despite problems stemming from mine closures.

Of this reduction, 0.8 million tonnes related to the planned closure of its Marikana opencast operations and 0.3 million tonnes were due to the placing of its Baobab shaft at Limpopo on care and maintenance during the first half of the 2009 financial year, Lonmin said in its production report.

The concentrators produced a total of 491,019 saleable ounces of platinum in concentrate in the nine months, an 8% year-on-year decline, mainly as a result of the planned production stoppages at its opencast Marikana and Baobab operations in South Africa.

The company said it expects an increase in metal in process of up to 20,000oz of platinum at the end of September, mainly due to the inventory built up during the shutdown of its Number One furnace.

“Despite these factors, we still expect to achieve sales for the 2009 financial year of between 680,000oz and 700,000oz of platinum. This result is dependent on the selling of metal-in-process inventory and on how the Number One furnace performs during the fourth quarter of the year”, the company said in a statement in its production report.