Mining

Zimplats commits US$1.3m on exploration

TINASHE MAKICHI

Zimplats Holdings Limited (Zimplats) has injected nearly US$1.3m towards exploration drilling projects during the quarter to December 31, 2019.

Zimplats, which is owned by Implats, is located on the Hartley Geological Complex on the Zimbabwean Great Dyke where it operates an opencast and an underground mine at Ngezi.

The Selous Metallurgical Complex (SMC), where the ore is concentrated and smelted, is located 77 km north of the mine.

“A total of US$1.3m was committed on exploration drilling projects conducted during the quarter on existing mines,” said Zimplats in a statement.

Tonnes mined for the quarter to December 31 2019 were 8% higher than the quarter ended December 31 2018, mainly due to improved fleet productivity and additional tonnage from Mupani Mine, which is still under development.

Tonnes milled decreased 2% from the previous quarter due to lower running time.

Running time for the quarter was constrained due to the planned mill reline shutdown at the Selous Metallurgical Complex concentrator.

Six elements (6E)—platinum, palladium, gold, rhodium, ruthenium and iridium—production in final product decreased by 23% from the previous quarter mainly due to an increase in concentrate stocks and the build-up of inventory in the furnace on start-up after the122-day major rebuild shutdown.

Zimplats said the furnace inventory build-up is expected to reverse during the financial year and it is anticipated that all the concentrates stockpiled will be smelted before the end of the year.

Total operating cash cost increased 5% from the previous quarter while costs for the previous quarter was low as the furnace was down on its major rebuild.

Costs transferred to closing stocks increased from the previous quarter due to the increase in ore and concentrate stocks.

Operating cash costs per 6E ounce increased 30% from the previous quarter due to the 23% decrease in 6E ounces produced. Platinum and 6E production decreased by 24% and 23% from the previous quarter respectively.

In addition, the company is continuing with the US$264m Mupani Mine development to replace Rukodzi and Ngwarati mines which will be depleted in FY2021 and FY2025 respectively.

Beyond this project, the white metal producer said it will continue scanning the environment for organic growth and diversification of investment opportunities as the future of the mining unit remains bright despite the pressures from the difficult economic environment prevailing in Zimbabwe.

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