In early December, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) safely and successfully completed the rebuild of the Anglo Converter Plant (ACP) Phase A unit. The unit was ramping up and on track to be operating at full capacity by the end of the year.
“The ACP operations and projects teams have done an extraordinary job in safely completing the rebuild and recommissioning of the ACP Phase A unit,” said Natascha Viljoen, CEO, Amplats. “We were able to procure and deliver long lead-time items to site six months ahead of schedule, despite the impact of Covid-19 on supply chains, enabling us to bring forward the rebuild to the end of 2020, ahead of our initial expectations of Q2 2021. First converter matte is now ready to be dispatched, allowing us to re-establish the processing pipeline to finished metals. I am also pleased that our marketing team has worked tirelessly with our customers to mitigate the impact of the interruption and manage our contractual obligations during this period.”
As a result, the company has upgraded refined production guidance for 2020 to between 2.6 million to 2.7 million PGM ounces (previously 2.5 million PGM ounces). Sales volumes have also been upgraded to about 2.8 million PGM ounces, as minor metal refined inventories have been drawn down. The release of the work-in-progress inventory built up in 2020 is expected to take up to 24 months.
During November, the company decided to close the ACP Phase B unit after a comprehensive assessment discovered further water leaks. The company decided to close the unit and schedule a full rebuild for 2021.
“The ACP Phase B unit has been fragile and has unfortunately recently experienced a number of further instances of water leaks,” Viljoen said at the time. “While the ACP management team has done extraordinary work to keep the unit operating safely over the past several months, we have taken this pre-emptive decision to now close the ACP Phase B unit to ensure we protect our employees, operating environment and the integrity of our assets.”
Viljoen also said at the time the company would continue with the rebuild of the main ACP Phase A unit, which was originally scheduled for completion durng the second quarter of 2021.