Afrimat’s share price plunged as much as 16% on Friday after the group said headline earnings per share could plummet by up to 20% in the year ending February 2018. But the stock recovered to close 4% down at R28.99. The open-pit mining group, which supplies industrial minerals and construction materials, said the results were affected by political uncertainty amid a 17-year low in construction industry confidence. Sales volumes in the last quarter of calendar 2017 were slow. This was felt most strongly in KwaZulu-Natal and southern Gauteng, where dolomite and clinker operations saw lower volumes. “There was a sharp drop-off in business: 2018 will hopefully be much better than 2017 — a year I would like to forget,” Afrimat CEO Andries van Heerden said on Friday. “As a direct result of much improved commodity prices, it was decided to accelerate the ramp-up of Demaneng mine [previously called Diro mine],” he said. This meant expenses for the mine had increased substantially, but iron...

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