November 1, 2018 / 7:14 AM / a year ago

Gold miner Sibanye's profit plunges after fatal accidents hit output

Miners work deep underground at Sibanye Gold's Masimthembe shaft in Westonaria, South Africa, April 3, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African miner Sibanye-Stillwater’s core profit plunged 40 percent in the third quarter, it said on Thursday, after production at its domestic gold mining operations was hit by incidents that have caused 24 deaths this year.

South Africa has the world’s deepest gold mines and an earth tremor at one of Sibanye-Stillwater’s mines killed seven miners in one incident alone in May.

Sibanye, which also produces platinum, said adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) totalled 1.6 billion rand ($109 million) in the three months ended September, down from 2.7 billion rand a year earlier.

As well as production cuts, the miner also had to defer some U.S. sales in September until October at the request of a client, a precious metals refiner, it said.

The miner said comparable gold production from its South Africa operations fell 24 percent to 284,600 ounces for the quarter after rehabilitation of seismically affected production areas and the suspension of underground mining at its Cooke operations.

The firm revised its 2018 guidance for its local gold operations down to between 1.13 million ounces and 1.16 million ounces, from its previous guidance of between 1.17 million ounces and 1.21 million ounces.

Platinum group metals (PGM) production from the group’s South African operations fell to 305,227 ounces in the third quarter, from 306,184 ounces a year earlier, while output at its U.S operations rose 3 percent to 139,178 ounces compared with the year ago period.

($1 = 14.7113 rand)

Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng and Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Susan Fenton

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