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Diversified mining company African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) on Friday declared an interim dividend for the six months ended December 31, when ARM had net cash of R7.9-billion.

The interim dividend of R6 a share is well down on the R14 a share declared in the corresponding period of last year.

Basic earnings were R1 216-million, or R6.20 a share, compared with R4 388-million, or R22.39 a share, for the corresponding period last year and include attributable impairments after tax, which were largely due to a significant decrease in profitability resulting from lower platinum group metal (PGM) commodity prices.

Iron-ore sales volumes were higher as the comparative period was impacted by industrial action at State rail enterprise Transnet.

Unit production costs remained under pressure owing to lower production volumes and above-inflation increases in electricity and maintenance costs at the manganese and PGM operations.

The decline in the average PGMs basket price and the lower thermal coal prices were partially offset by a weaker average rand:dollar exchange rate and higher average realised export iron-ore prices, the company headed by executive chairperson Dr Patrice Motsepe reported on the news service of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

Decarbonisation pathways identified several initiatives to meet the long-term target of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions from mining by 2050. These initiatives include improving energy efficiencies, implementing renewable energy, and the use of new energy vehicles.

Construction of the off-site solar power plant commenced during the first half of the JSE-listed company’s 2024 financial year, which will provide renewable energy to platinum operations.

ARM, Mining Weekly can report, continues to be confident about the long-term profitability of the Bokoni platinum mine, acquired in 2022, and the definitive feasibility study for the phased development of Bokoni was further advanced to a bankable feasibility study (BFS)  level.

However, owing to depressed commodity prices and an uncertain immediate outlook, the BFS project approval request has been deferred. The immediate priority will be to conserve cash while ramping up production on a phased basis, from the installed capacity of 60 000 t a month by leveraging and enhancing existing infrastructure.

There were no fatalities during the period under review and the total recordable injury frequency rate improved to 0.50 from 0.62. In November 2023, Modikwa mine achieved two million fatality-free shifts and Two Rivers mine achieved one million fatality-free shifts.