Platinum mines to increase Zim output

Amplats planning a new mine in Zimbabwe

New Amplats mine in Zim
Platinum Mining

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the world’s biggest platinum producer, is planning a new mine in Zimbabwe through its subsidiary, Unki Mine, whose chief financial officer Colin Chibafa said the new mine had the potential of doubling output from Zimbabwe.

Amplats lost at least 170 000oz of platinum during an eight-week strike in South Africa. The new mine, which could cost as much as $400 million, is part of the company’s plans to raise output from Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe and South Africa hold about 75% of the world’s platinum reserves, but South Africa’s industry has been suffering from labour unrest, high input costs, poor infrastructure and increased government intervention.

Most of the foreign mining companies are now largely compliant with Zimbabwe’s  indigenisation policies and are focusing on increasing output.

Amplats confirmed earlier this month that the Zimbabwean government had approved its proposal to hand over 51% of its Unki Mine to comply with the country’s indigenisation programme. Zimbabwe’s indigenisation ministry has valued the shareholding at over $300m.

Unki is expected to produce about 65 000oz of platinum for the current year. 

Meanwhile, JSE-listed Impala Platinum said last week it had recorded an increase in tonnes milled as well as grade from its Mimosa mine joint venture project with Aquarius Platinum in Zimbabwe, resulting in an improvement in platinum production in concentrate to 28 000oz.

"This remains in line with steady-state refined production of 100 000oz of platinum. Discussions are ongoing regarding Mimosa’s proposed indigenisation plan," the company stated in its production report for the first quarter period to 30 September.

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