Mixed messages from South Africas miners as 21-day lockdown squeezes PGM supply

First out of the gate was Rio Tinto (LON:RIO), which announced last night (24 March) that it would be suspending operations at the Richards Bay mineral sands mine in South Africa, and that its associated furnaces would also be turned off. That was then followed by a flurry of news releases from other miners with operations in South Africa including, most notably, Anglo American (LON:AAL).

Intriguingly, Anglos announcement was the most equivocal, and said virtually nothing about the proposed measures it would take in response to the government edict.

But others, like Pan African Resources (LON:PAF), Bushveld Minerals (LON:BMN) and BlueRock Diamonds (LON:BRD) were quick to announce the shuttering of operations and a move to care and maintenance.

Other companies that are affected include Jubilee Metals (LON:JLP), Sylvania (LON:SLP), Petra Diamonds (LON:PDL), Tharisa Minerals (LON:THR) and South 32 (LON:S32).

Many companies, including Pan African Resources, were explicit in their support for the governments move. In associated commentary Pan African described its operations as “robust”, and also detailed its access to cash and borrowing facilities in the event that the mine closure begins to put pressure on the balance sheet.

For Petra Diamonds though, which has been struggling in a poor diamond market with a severe debt burden, the situation looks more precarious. Nevertheless, Petras shares rose more than 9% on the new government measures, as markets in general respond favourably to more stringent lockdown measures.

Theres also the strange knock-on effect that because some commoditieRead More – Source