Zimplats production oscilate despite firm global prices

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    Harare – Zimplats Holdings Ltd’s mineral production over the past year has been oscillating largely due to the lower milling rate, coupled with stalled operations and the closure of the South Pit Mine in March 2018.

    An analysis of the company’s earnings updates over the past five quarters shows that the growth trend in the four elements (platinum, palladium, gold and rhodium) (4E) production has been inconsistent, taking from the dearth in total milled produce.

    The  latest quarterly report ending 31 December, 2018, show that tonnes milled decreased by 3 % to 163500 compared to 1677000 recorded the previous quarter. 4E production went down by 5% to 133086 ounces, compared to 140569 ounces recorded the previous quarter.

    “Tonnes milled decreased by 3% from the previous quarter due to a lower milling rate and a decrease in the running time of the mills due to the planned SMC concerntrator mill reline shutdown,” reads part of the report.

    “Overall, 4E metal production in the final product decreased by 5% from the previous quarter, in line with the decrease in the volume of concerntrates smelted. Concerntrates smelted decreased by 5% due to a routine-seven day furnace taphole inspection shutdown.”

    The latest performance is second from a lower position in the last five quarters, where production during the quarter ending 30 June, 2018, went down to 1578000 tonnes milled and 4E elements production recorded at 131983 ounces.

    Positive perfomances were recorded during the two quarters ending 31 March, 2018 and 31 September, 2018.

    Tonnes milled in the quarter ending 31 March, 2018, increased marginally by 1% to 1659000 from 1643000 tonnes achived the previous quarter and 4E production increased 3% to 139697 ounces from a previous quarter position of 136078 ounces.

    Production in the quarter ending 31 September, 2018, was the highest recording a total 4E production of 140569. The performance was attributed to a increase in the volume of ore milled recorded at 1677000 tonnes, as well as due to a higher operating time.

    Zimplats is currently in the process of redeveloping Bimha Mine and the south underground crusher and ore-conveyancing system are scheduled for commissioning in August 2019. A total of $76 million had been spent as at 31 December, 2018 against a total project budget of $101 million.

    In addition, the development of Mupani Mine, replacing Ngwarati and Rukodzi mines is reported to be ahead of schedule targeting ore contact by August 2019 and full production in August 2025. A total of $51 million had been spent as at 31 December, 2018 against a total budget of $264 million.

    These capital projects are projected to increase the group’s platinum and other minerals production which in turn can boosts the country’s economy which is anchored on agriculture and mining activities.

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