Mining Company Stocks Fall Following Deaths

July 9, 2010

miners-dayBermuda-registered Aquarius Platinum has seen its shares fall following an accident in South Africa which killed five people, and left one critically injured.

The Perth-based mining company reported multiple fatalities in South Africa due to a rock fall on Tuesday July 6th. National Union of Mineworkers area chairman Lazarus Ditshwene said the union’s members had downed tools at the mine until the bodies of their colleagues had been retrieved.

Mr Ditshwene said the men were trapped underground when the 200m-long rock which was the roof of the tunnel they were in fell on top of them. A rescue team entered the mine an hour after the accident. By Wednesday July 7th evening, the bodies of all five of the employees who died in the accident were retrieved.

Aquarius shares on the Australian stock exchange, its primary listing, were down 38 cents, or 6.86%, at $5.16 at the market close. Its shares on the London Stock Exchange also closed more than 6% weaker overnight. Aquarius’ Johannesburg-listed scrip has fallen 4% in the past week.

Bloomberg reported that Aquarius Platinum may lose 1,500 ounces to 2,000 ounces of output of platinum group metals. Bloomberg continued on to say that the drop in production, about 0.3 percent of its estimated attributable output in fiscal 2011, is likely if a government suspension at the company’s number-four shaft remains in place for two weeks.

Stuart Murray, CEO of Aquarius, said:

This tragic accident is the worst such incident in AQPSA’s history, and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the men who died. Prior to this incident, Marikana operations had completed over 800,000 fatality-free shifts, which is the equivalent of 18 months without a fatal accident. This is among the best safety records in the industry, and the safety of our personnel remains of paramount importance to us. Aquarius and AQPSA will do everything within their power to analyze the cause of this accident and ensure that all efforts are expended to prevent such accidents in the future, and that best in class safety standards continue to be met at all of its operations

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Category: Accidents and fires, All, News