Zimplats embarks on Ngezi expansion project

Business Reporter
Zimbabwe’s biggest platinum producer, Zimplats said it is going ahead with its Ngezi Phase 2 expansion project in spite of an earlier announcement that it will be postponing some projects to future periods. “Zimplats is basically committed to complete the Ngezi Phase 2 expansion project. Sustainability in the current price environment is definitely a significant challenge and they certainly spoke to this, specifically measures to preserve cash and redevelop the Bimha Mine,” said Impala group executive – corporate relations Johan Theron.

The platinum miner had by the end of December 2015 spent about $450 million towards the project while implementation of outstanding components of the project remain on schedule for overall completion scheduled for this year.

Zimplats is a subsidiary of the world’s foremost producers of platinum and associated platinum group metals, Impala Platinum.

The platinum miner previously announced that the impact of declining metal prices on cash flows had resulted in reprioritisation of capital projects with some projects being deferred to future periods.

According to Zimplats, a total of $12,2 million was spent on the refurbishment of the Selous Metallurgical Complex base metal refinery project and $9,9 million was committed as at December 31, 2015.

Bimha Mine re-development is on schedule to reach full production in April 2018. Zimplats last year also announced its intention to invest about $80 million towards the setting up of an acid plant to improve the company’s environmental impact and compliance.

The acid plant is used for the reduction of sulphur dioxide emissions from the smelter especially in platinum mining.

Since the promulgation of the new air quality legislation in Africa, sulphur dioxide has been a pollutant of concern especially in the heavily industrial South African regions and the impact of these emissions have been exacerbated by the poor atmospheric dispersion by some companies.

Mr Theron said the previously talked about acid plant also remains on the table.

“The previously talked about acid plant remains on the table, but has to be considered with the work we are doing in consultation with Government of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwean PGM Industry to possibly expand our smelting facilities or re-commission the Base Metals Refinery as the design and sequencing of an acid plant is ultimately dependent on these projects,” said Mr Theron.

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