VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Jun 24, 2013) - Eastern Platinum Limited (ELR.TO)(ELR.L)(JSE:EPS) ("Eastplats" or the "Company") reports that a Section 52 Notice in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act ("MRPDA") of 2002 was submitted to the Minister of Mineral Resources of South Africa on June 22, 2013 with respect to the curtailing of mining operations at the Crocodile River Mine ("CRM"). This follows the Company's decision to suspend funding for CRM for the reasons outlined in the news release of April 19, 2013.
On April 22, 2013 Barplats Mines Limited ("BML") issued notices to employees in terms of Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 ("the LRA") with respect to a Care and Maintenance and Restructuring proposal for CRM. BML also requested that the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration appoint a facilitator for the requisite 60-day consultation process. This consultation process with the unions and other representatives ended upon the expiry of the 60-day period on June 21, 2013.
Three unions representing 47% of the total workforce concluded a Settlement Agreement with the Company and have recommended acceptance to their Members in return for full and final settlement of all and any claims between the Company and Members of those unions. One union has not recommended acceptance of the Company's retrenchment proposal. Employees who do not accept the full and final settlement proposal will receive the Company's retrenchment package made at the final facilitated consultation meeting.
As stated in the Section 52 Notice, mining operations at CRM are to be scaled down with the effect that approximately 92% of CRM's employees are either to be retrenched or their employment terminated by mutual agreement. The Company will be meeting all its commitments with respect to its environmental management programs and the relevant aspects of its Social and Labour Plan.
Production at CRM will be scaled down with effect from June 22 and will cease by the end of July 2013. Production will not resume until it is clear that there can be economic and sustainable production from CRM.
Eastplats has made a significant investment in infrastructure at CRM, and BML's Care and Maintenance proposal for the mine will ensure that the mine remains in a state of operational readiness in order to take advantage of this investment and to secure future employment opportunities for when economic conditions and the operating environment improve.
"This is a very regrettable outcome. However, BML's Care and Maintenance proposal is the best for all stake holders since nobody wants to see the mine close permanently. We have been struggling through a perfect storm of increasing costs on all fronts and depressed metal prices. With ongoing labour unrest that continues to negatively impact productivity throughout the South African mining sector, the stagnant commodity market, and rising costs, it has become impossible to justify continued production operations at this time," stated Ian Rozier, President and CEO.
Total shares issued and outstanding - 928,187,807
Cautionary Statement on Forward-Looking Information
This press release, which contains certain forward-looking statements, is intended to provide readers with a reasonable basis for assessing the financial performance of the Company. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements. The words "believe", "expect", "anticipate", "contemplate", "target", "plan", "intends", "continue", "budget", "estimate", "may", "will", "schedule" and similar expressions identify forward looking statements. These forward-looking statements pertain to assumptions regarding the price of PGMs, fluctuations in currency markets (specifically the Rand and the U.S. dollar), the future funding of the Company's projects, the future development of the Company's projects, the Company's plans for its properties, the anticipated timing for the awarding of tenders, and the accounting policies issued but not yet effective for the Company. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by the Company, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. Known and unknown factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to, the risk of fluctuations in the assumed exchange rates of currencies that directly impact the Company, such as Canadian dollar, South African Rand and U.S. dollar, the risk of fluctuations in the assumed prices of PGM and other commodities, the risk of changes in government legislation, taxation, controls, regulations and political or economic developments in Canada, the United States, South Africa, or Barbados or other countries in which the Company carries or may carry on business in the future, risks associated with mining or development activities, the speculative nature of exploration and development, including the risk of obtaining necessary licenses and permits, and assumed quantities or grades of reserves. Many of these uncertainties and contingencies can affect the Company's actual results and could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements made by, or on behalf of, the Company. Readers are cautioned that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those acknowledged in such statements. Specific reference is made to the Company's most recent Annual Information Form on file with Canadian provincial securities regulatory authorities for a discussion of some of the factors underlying forward-looking statements.
The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except to the extent required by applicable laws.