* Q1 profit $824,000 vs $3.2 mln last year
* Crocodile River mine production down 7 pct
May 12 (Reuters) - Eastern Platinum Ltd ELR.TO reported a 74 percent fall in first-quarter profit as production at its key South African mine was hurt by a slower-than-expected start-up following the December holiday season.
For the quarter ended March 31, the company reported net profit attributable to equity shareholders of $824,000, down from $3.2 million last year.
Production at the Crocodile River mine declined 7 percent to 30,531 ounces, the company said in a statement.
“The slow start to 2010 affected all aspects of our operations. However, our mining rates have since picked up to normal levels and this together with PGM prices trending higher, should put us on track for a more profitable second quarter,” Chief Executive Ian Rozier said in a statement.
Eastern Platinum produces platinum group metals (PGM) that include platinum, palladium and rhodium.
Shares of Eastern Platinum were flat at C$1.29 Wednesday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by R. Manikandan in Bangalore; Editing by Anne Pallivathuckal)