Zimplats Expands Platinum Mine in Zimbabwe

Zimplats Ngezi Plant

Zimbabwe Platinum Holdings Ltd has so far spent US$89 million on the US$445 million Ngezi Phase II expansion project. The money was used during the half-year to December 31, 2011. Zimplats chief executive officer Mr Alex Mhembere said implementation of the project was within projected timelines.

“Implementation of the Phase II project is progressing well and according to plan, with US$89 million having been spent by the half-year,” said Mr Mhembere.

The Ngezi Phase II project consists of a two million tonnes per annum underground mine, two mtpa concentrator modules, a 35 000-megalitre dam, a 9km ore overland conveyor, and 1 125 employee houses.

Production capacity ramp-up at the Ngezi Phase II is expected to raise the firm’s annual platinum output from 180 000 to 270 000 ounces.

Meanwhile, weaker metal prices (due to the prevailing eurozone crisis) had a negative impact on the company’s financial performance during the half-year, despite the platinum producer’s improved performance in respect of metal production.

Zimplats reported that the combination of higher production and lower metal prices resulted in turnover for the six months of US$231 million, down 7 percent on US$250 million for the comparative period.

The company registered a profit before tax of US$81 million, a 29 percent decrease on US$101 million achieved during the previous period.

Profit after tax amounted to US$68 million compared with US$85 million for the previous period.

Generally, both Zimplats’ mining and processing operations performed well in the period under review.

As at present all the company’s three mines are now operating at full capacity and as a result ore mined totalled 2 289 000 tonnes, up 12 percent on the previous year.

Ore milled at 2,170,000 tonnes was 4 percent above the tonnage for the same period last year owing mainly to higher milling rates and running time achieved at both concentrators.

Mill grade was in line with expectations while concentrator recovery at 82.7 percent was positive and marginally higher than the previous year, reflecting the continued optimisation of processes.

4E (Four elements: platinum, palladium, gold and rhodium) metal production for the period totalled

183 000 ounces, an increase of 2 percent on the previous year’s production. The lower than expected metal production was a result of metal in process, which was only released after end of period.