Impala Platinum, the world's second largest platinum producer, has plans to boost its platinum production by about 600,000 ounces from 2012 to 2018, but the company has yet to secure sufficient power supply for some of its planned expansions. Implats currently produces about 2.03m ounces of platinum per year. 

Shadwick Bessit, executive director of Rustenburg Operations, said today the company has already secured power supply for shafts 20 and 16 here that will respectively add 150,000 and 180,000 ounces annually by 2012 and 2015 to production. The shafts are currently under construction at Impala Rustenburg on the western limb of the Bushveld complex.  

Bessit said the company was still negotiating power supply for its planned shaft 17 at Rustenburg that would add an additional 180,000 ounces annually to the company's production by 2018.

He said negotiations with Eskom regarding power supply for shaft 17 and other projects were ongoing but conceded that projects could be delayed if the state power utility could not commit to power supply in time. 

Impala Platinum is also planning increased production at its Marula mine on the eastern limb of the Bushveld complex, currently ramping up from 70,000 ounces to 120,000 ounces annually. 

Les Paton, executive director of Implats non-lease areas, said the company currently had the necessary power to sink the Marula shaft, but it still needed to negotiate 30MVA from Eskom to meet the operation's power requirement of 80MVA. 

Implats was hopeful it would get the additional 30MVA power to add a further 100,000 ounces of production at Marula by 2014. 

Paton said the decision to go ahead with development or not was a very difficult one, but the company believed it would have the information available to make the decision. 

Impala Platinum is increasing its smelting capacity from 2m ounces to 2.8m ounces by 2012 to treat increased production as its growth projects come on line as well as offtake from junior producers. It will only use 2.5m ounces of smelting capacity by 2012, sparing capacity for toll treatment of 300,000 ounces.

Mineweb has reported that the company is negotiating 60MVA power supply for its Leeuwkop project acquired from Afplats before a shaft is sunk here and a board decision on the future of the project is made towards the end of the year.

Implats could not forecast whether Eskom would succeed in executing its plans to resolve power limitations in South Africa by 2012 or 2013, but said there were other power alternatives in southern Africa that could be exploited.