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Northam Platinum has revealed that it will have to rebuild its Zondereinde mine smelter.

This follows a series of ultrasonic tests and temperature readings that have revealed erosion of the refractory bricks comprising the walls of the smelter in proximity to the slag interface.

Northam noted that further pyrometallurgical and chemical analyses would be carried out to ascertain the cause of the erosion.

The company said that the Zondereinde mine and concentrators continue to operate normally, while the concentrate will be treated on a toll basis at other facilities.

Northam announced earlier in May that it was to reduce its energy intensity from a maximum of 12 MW to a current average of 8 MW at its Zondereinde mine smelter.

The platinum producer said duration and cost of the rebuild will be determined in due course as further information becomes available.

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