BULAWAYO, May 14 (The Source) – The world’s second largest platinum miner, Impala Platinum says it has seen mixed performances at its Zimbabwe units with tonnes milled at Zimplats going down 11 percent to while Mimosa went up by nine percent in the third quarter ended March 31.
The South African company owns 87 percent of Zimplats while it shares 50 -50 percent equal shareholding in Mimosa with another SA company, Aquarius Platinum.
In a third quarter production report for the period released on Thursday, Implats said 1,26 million tonnes were milled at Zimplats compared to 1,42 million tonnes in the prior corresponding period.
At Mimosa, Implats said 622,000 tonnes were milled compared to 569,000 tonnes reported in the corresponding prior period.
It said mill throughput at Zimplats over the nine-month period ended March 31 fell by 15 percent to 3,74 million tonnes, compared to 4,40 million tonnes in the corresponding prior period.
“The lower throughput was directly attributable to the safety closure of the Bimha Mine in August 2014, mitigated to a large degree by the successful re-deployment of affected mining crews to other mining areas as well as the continued ramp-up of the Phase 2 expansion project.
As a result, platinum in matte for the nine months ended 31 March 2015 was only 11 percent lower at 155,000 ounces, compared to 174,000oz platinum in the prior comparable period,” said Implats.
The group said the ramp-up of the Phase 2 expansion project remains on schedule for completion in FY2015 with the Mupfuti Mine expected to deliver steady-state capacity of 90,000oz in the next financial year.
“All of the above interventions are expected to limit the production impact of closing Bimha Mine to less than 40,000 platinum ounces for FY2015 and for full processing capacity (six million tonnes per annum) to be restored in FY2016.”
At Mimosa, Implats said tonnes milled during the nine-month period ended March 31 increased by seven percent to 1,92 million tonnes, compared to 1,80 million tonnes in the corresponding prior period.
“The increased throughput together with improved recoveries increased platinum in concentrate production by 11 percent to 88,000 ounces compared to 79,000 ounces platinum in the prior comparable period.”
Consultations with government over the 15 percent export levy on unbeneficiated platinum concentrate were still ongoing.
Government introduced a 15 percent export levy on unprocessed platinum from January 1 this year, with a view to encouraging platinum mining companies to invest in smelting and refining capacity in the country.
“The group in consultation with the Chamber of Mines in Zimbabwe, initiated active engagement with the Government of Zimbabwe to highlight this risk and in an endeavour to secure a more conducive investment environment where current operations can be sustained and ultimately the industry grown in Zimbabwe. These engagements are ongoing, and further announcements will be made as soon possible,” said Implats.