Australian-based Aquarius Platinum has bought its first SA mine, the Kroondal Platinum Mine, just a few years ago. Now it expects its second SA mine to be operational by the end of the year and has serious intention to increase production to 800 000 ounces by 2006.
The mid-tier platinum producer is listed on the Australian and London stock exchanges and is looking at the possibility of listing in the US through an American Depository Receipt.
Aquarius' Kroondal mine is producing about 240000 ounces of platinum group metals a year at a cash cost of $148/oz. The company says it is the lowest cost producer in the country.
On average it is estimated that it costs other platinum group producers about $180/oz to 220/oz. Platinum was trading at about $568/oz this week.
Kroondal has a relatively short life of mine, though, with production expected to remain at today's levels for only the next three or so years.
This increase in production is expected to come from across a number of projects one of which, Marikana, is also on the western limb of the Bushveld complex.