Zim­plats to pro­ceed with $264m project

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business -

ZIM­PLATS says it is go­ing ahead with the development of a $264 mil­lion un­der­ground mine fol­low­ing board ap­proval, which will raise its min­eral re­serves by a third to nine mil­lion ounces.

Pre­lim­i­nary work on the Mu­pani Mine project started in June this year and, in a no­tice to the Aus­tralian Stock Ex­change (ASX) on Wed­nes­day, Zim­plats said Im­pala Plat­inum Hold­ings Lim­ited and Zim­plats boards of di­rec­tors had given their re­spec­tive ap­provals for the project to go ahead.

Zim­plats cur­rently op­er­ates four un­der­ground mines — Rukodzi, Ng­warati, Bimha and Mup­futi mines — as well as the open­cast South Pit Mine.

Mu­pani will pro­duce 2,2 mil­lion tonnes of ore an­nu­ally at full production, ex­pected in Au­gust 2025.

It has a life ex­pectancy of 34 years and its production will re­place that from Rukodzi and Ng­warati Mines whose re­sources are ex­pected to de­plete in 2022 and 2025, re­spec­tively.

Development of the new mine will be in­ter­nally funded, and will see Zim­plats’ to­tal spend­ing in Zim­babwe ex­ceed­ing $5,135 bil­lion since it be­gan operations in 2002.

It will em­ploy 1 000 peo­ple.

“Early project work, in­clud­ing min­ing the box cut and con­struct­ing the main ac­cess road, project of­fices and other essen­tial project in­fra­struc­ture, started in June 2016.

“The box cut will be com­pleted in Novem­ber 2016 and prepa­ra­tions to start de­vel­op­ing the main un­der­ground ac­cess have been ini­ti­ated,” said chief executive Mr Alex Mhem­bere in a state­ment.

“De­vel­op­ing the main un­der­ground ac­cess in­fra­struc­ture to the po­si­tion of the first planned reef pan­els is ex­pected to take 37 months to com­plete, which will al­low the first min­ing teams to be de­ployed from early 2021.

“De­sign ca­pac­ity of 2.2 mil­lion tonnes per an­num is tar­geted in 2025.”

Once com­mis­sioned, the mined ore will be ben­e­fi­ci­ated at Zim­plats’ re­cently up­graded Ngezi/Selous pro­cess­ing fa­cil­i­ties, Mr Mhem­bere added.

Zim­babwe has the se­cond-largest known plat­inum de­posits after South Africa. Zim­plats, Zim­babwe’s largest min­ing com­pany, is one of three plat­inum pro­duc­ers in the coun­try, along with Sibanye and Im­pala’s Mi­mosa joint ven­ture in Zvisha­vane and An­glo Plat­inum’s Unki in Shu­rugwi. — The Source

Am­bas­sador Cain Math­ema

Mr Alex Mhem­bere

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