Zimplats slips to $33mln loss as quarterly sales fall 35pct

Zimplats slips to $33mln loss as quarterly sales fall 35pct

HARARE, July 31 (The Source) – Zimbabwe’s largest platinum miner, Zimplats slipped to a $32,6 million loss in the quarter to June from a profit of $6,8 million in the previous quarter after sales for platinum group metals (4E) fell 35 percent and poor commodity prices, the company said on Friday.

Sales of 4E — platinum, palladium, Rhodium and gold — were at 68,255 ounces from 104,608oz in the quarter to March after the furnace closed down for 15 days due to a furnace shell break out. The furnace shut down also reduced 4E matte production by 32 percent despite an increase in the ore mined and processed.

Revenue decreased by 41 percent from the previous quarter due to the lower sales and a drop in the metal prices. Prices fell to $947 per ounce from $1,054 in the previous quarter.

Cash cost per 4E ounce increased by 12 percent  from the previous quarter largely due to the drop in 4E metal in converter matte production and the provision for retrenchment costs. Direct operating costs were 20 percent lower due to the lower sales volumes.

Zimplats, a unit of South Africa’s Impala Platinum, reported that during the quarter, local spend (excluding payments to government and related institutions) increased by 24 percent to $46 million and total payments to government in direct and indirect taxes decreased by 18 percent to $7 million compared to the previous quarter mainly due to a reduction in royalties in line with lower sales revenue.

Ore production grew 19 percent to 1,480,000 tonnes compared with the preceding quarter driven by increased production in open pit operations, the company announced on Friday.

“Ore mined increased by 19 percent from the previous quarter largely as a result of 105,693 tonnes mined from the open-pit operation as well as a general increase in production from the underground mines,” the company said.

“The open-pit operation, which started producing ore in April 2015, is operating at the design capacity of 830 000 tonnes per annum. Redevelopment work at Bimha Mine is progressing well with 87,000 tonnes mined from the access drives and access points in the quarter. The project is on schedule to reach full production in April 2018.”