Despite extreme turmoil and financial difficulties in the mining sector recently, particularly for PGM companies, junior platinum company Wesizwe Platinum reported a R9.7 million consolidated profit for its 2012 financial year.

This consolidated profit figure was achieved due to an increase in interest income of R56.6 million earned on cash balances that, in turn, contributed to the basic earnings per share of 0.60 cents.

The company’s core projects, the Bakubung platinum mine located in the Western Limb of the Bushveld Complex near Rustenburg in the North West Province is in construction phase and due to

Wesizwe also secured two short-term loan facilities with the China Development Bank during 2012 of US$ 100 million (or R926 million) each. The first loan of US$ 100 million was drawn down in December 2012 and is included in the cash balance of R1.4 billion at year-end. The second loan facility will be drawn during 2013, as and when required. These short-term loans will be refunded in part by the US$ 650 million long-term loan also approved by the Credit Committee of the China Development Bank during the year under review.

Total project cost spent to year end was R779.1 million with R1.4 billion committed as at the end of the financial year.

2012 saw a number of other major highlights recorded at Bakubung including a total of 219 828 fatality-free shifts at Bakubung since the start of the project. The shaft sinking contract was awarded and the first blasts on the ventilation and main shafts took place on schedule.

The water supply feasibility study, conducted jointly with neighbouring PGM mine Maseve (also in development), was concluded and a detailed engineering and costing presented as part of the water supply feasibility study. The water supply project remains on time and within budget.

Wesizwe introduced a new four year apprenticeship programme focused on developing essential engineering skills and achieved a local employment percentage of 30.21% with 71% of that percentage coming from the Ledig area which exceeds the requirements of the Mining Charter.

Speaking on the announcement of Wesizwe’s annual results, Mr Jianke Gao, CEO of Wesizwe, said: “Despite what has been a difficult year for the mining sector as a whole in the country, the year under review has seen significant progress made at our flagship project. The confirmation of our funding arrangements for our flagship project represented just one of several important milestones reached during the year under review and served to demonstrate the level of confidence in the project, the future and the perspectives held by our Chinese shareholders on the South African mining industry. These achievements represented not only good news for Wesizwe, but also sent a positive signal to the industry as a whole. Bakubung continues to make significant progress, on schedule and on budget, with several major milestones scheduled to be reached in the year ahead.”

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