Tinashe Makichi: Business Reporter
Zimbabwe’s largest platinum producer, Zimplats has completed a bankable feasibility study for the development of 2,2 million tonnes per annum replacement portal system for Rukodzi and Ngwarati mines.
The project that is expected to cost $260 million will be submitted to the boards of both Zimplats and Implats for consideration next month. In a first quarter production report for the period July 1 to September 30, Implats said once approved the planned project will access 4,65 million ounces of reserves through high productivity modern mechanised mining methods.
“Preliminary works related to accessing and excavating the box cut position commenced in the quarter. Full project details will be released once the Implats board approval processes have been completed,” said Implats chief executive Terrence Goodlace.
For the quarter under review mill throughput for Zimplats increased by 5,5 percent to 1,70 million tonnes, compared to 1,61 million tonnes in the prior corresponding period, largely as a result of increased production from the South open pit and Bimha Mine.
Platinum in matte production for the period consequently increased by 3,6 percent to 68 400 ounces, compared to 66 000 ounces in the prior corresponding period a year ago. On Mimosa platinum mine, tonnes milled during the period increased by 2,7 percent to 690 000 tonnes, compared to 672 000 tonnes in the previous comparable quarter.
Platinum production in concentrate of 30 500 ounces was largely unchanged from the prior comparable period. Gross refined platinum production for the Implats group during the quarter increased by 20 percent to 365 200 ounces, compared to 304 100 ounces achieved in the prior corresponding period.
This was primarily due to sustained good operational performances from Zimplats, Marula, Mimosa, Two Rivers and Impala Refining Services, and the impact of planned furnace maintenance at the Impala Rustenburg smelters last year.
“Our growth momentum in platinum production, which started last year, has continued following a 20 percent increase in output over the last quarter. Impala Rustenburg was, however, affected by safety stoppages, but the production for the upcoming December quarter is expected to normalise due to the continued high level of focus on improving safety through key initiatives and enhanced dialogue with the DMR and AMCU, as well as the resumption of full production at No 1 Shaft.
“Progress on the re-establishment of safe production at Rustenburg’s fire affected 14 Shaft is on plan and cold commissioning of the conveyor belt and its associated infrastructure in the upper part of the decline section has commenced.
“Zimplats has continued to excel from a health, safety and production perspective and the bankable feasibility work for the development of portal 6 has been completed. The final Implats board submission for this project is planned for November 2016,” said Mr Goodlace.
Implats is one of the world’s foremost producers of platinum and associated platinum group metals and the group produces approximately a quarter of the world’s supply of primary platinum. Implats is structured around five main operations which are Impala, Zimplats, Marula, Mimosa and Two Rivers.