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Northam Platinum flags first-half earnings rise

Boosted by higher metals prices and increased output.
A miner points towards the Upper Group 2 Reef platinum rich rock layer in the Northam Platinum Booysendal platinum mine, located outside Lydenburg in Mpumalanga. Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

South African miner Northam Platinum said on Tuesday it expected interim headline earnings to rise as much as 79% boosted by higher metals prices and increased output.

The company said normalised headline earnings per share (Heps) for the six months ending December 31 were expected to be 623 to 660 cents ($0.4250-$0.4502), or between 68.6% to 78.6%, compared to 369.6 cents during the same period a year earlier.

Heps is the main profit measure used in South Africa, which strips out certain once-off items.

High prices for metals extracted by Northam, including platinum, palladium and rhodium, helped boost profits with the dollar basket price of the main minerals it mines up 50% year on year, Northam said.

A weak local currency that reduces local costs, further boosted earnings.

Northam said production during the period rose 15% to 352,741 ounces compared to 306 738 ounces a year earlier.

The miner is expected to release its results on March 19.

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