Oliver Kazunga Bulawayo Bureau
ANGLO American-owned Unki Platinum Mine has increased output by nine percent to 92 600 ounces in the six months ended June 30, 2018, compared to the same period last year.
According to an interim report for the six months ended June 30, 2018, released by the mining group, platinum production at its Shurugwi-based Unki Mine, output improved during the period under review due to increased throughput and recovery.
“Unki in Zimbabwe produced a record 92 000 Platinum Group Metals ounces, an increase of nine percent compared to 85 100 ounces in the first half of 2017.
“Platinum production increased eight percent to 41 400 ounces against 38 400oz achieved in the comparable period in 2017,” said Anglo American in the report.
Unki Mine is one of the country’s three operational platinum mines along with Zimplats and Mimosa. In the interim period ending June 30, 2018, Unki also registered improved palladium production, which rose by 10 percent to 36 200oz compared to 33 000oz in the first half of last year.
“Production increased due to an increase in tonnes milled, up six percent due to improved throughput and recovery. The 4E built-up head grade stayed relatively flat at 3,47 grammes per tonne (H1 2017: 3,48g/t),” said the mining group.
Last December, Unki announced a healthy lifespan up to 2080 while the mining giant is taping from only two of its eight exploration sites. Presently, the mine has eight exploration sites with platinum deposits with an estimated healthy lifespan of over 60 years. The platinum mine has invested in the construction of a $62 million smelting plant.
“The Unki smelter, a project in execution, is expected to be completed in third quarter of 2018,” said Anglo American Platinum.
Construction of the smelter at Unki is in line with the Government policy to promote mineral beneficiation to allow the country to improve export earnings in the mining sector, which is one of the major economic mainstays accounting for 13 percent to the Gross Domestic Product.