STAFF WRITER

Anglo American Platinum’s Unki Mine’s $60 million smelter facility at Shurugwi has come online with the first matte having been tapped from the new smelter last month.

The smelter project by the miner came at the backdrop of a proposed 15 percent tax by Government on all platinum miners. The tax was supposed to come into effect in January 2015 but was pushed to 2018 to allow miners time to set up the beneficiation facilities.

The commissioning of this smelter which is still ongoing will enable the company to begin partial processing of ore in the country before sending it to South Africa for refining.

“Commissioning of the Unki Smelter is progressing well, and the first matte was tapped from the new smelter on September 21 2018. Ramp up of the facility to full production is continuing,” said Angloplat in a statement.

According to Angloplat’s Platinum Group Metals (PGM) production report for the third quarter to September 30, 2018, Unki PGM production increased 14 percent to 50 400 ounces as a result of an increase in tonnes milled, improvements in recovery and increased built-up head grade.

Platinum production for the Midlands-based mine increased 13 percent to 22 400 ounces and palladium production increased 15 percent to 19 700 ounces.

Total PGM production at group level was up three percent as improved operational performances across the majority of the portfolio offset unprofitable production from Bokoni which was placed on care and maintenance in the third quarter of 2017 (up six percent if Bokoni is excluded from the prior period).

Platinum production increased four percent to 649 000 ounces and palladium production increased one percent to 410 800 ounces.

Own-managed mines PGM production increased two percent to 567 600 ounces due to strong performances from Unki and Amandelbult. Platinum production increased three percent to 262 300 ounces and palladium production increased one percent to 204 100 ounces.

Mogalakwena PGM production decreased two percent to 271 800 ounces due to planned maintenance at the concentrators which led to lower concentrator throughput and lower recoveries, partially offset by higher builtup head grade.

Platinum production decreased two percent to 113 900 ounces and palladium production decreased two percent to 127 100 ounces as expected.

In line with previous guidance, Mogalakwena experienced a decline in grade, and it is expected that this lower grade will continue for the final quarter.

Amandelbult PGM production increased five percent to 245 400 ounces, driven by continued operational improvement that was supported by increased development at Dishaba as mining activities transition to this section.

Platinum production increased five percent to 126 000 ounces and palladium production increased four percent to 57 300 ounces.