Zimbabwe platinum output steadily increases in Q1 2020

  • Output stood at 118 000 ounces
  • Supply projected to contract by 4% in 2020
  • Global supply down by 6%

Zimbabwe registered a steady growth of platinum production in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in the prior year.

According to a quarterly platinum by the World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC), Zimbabwe posted a modest supply increase, up 5% to 118 ounces from 113 ounces recorded in the same period last year.

This was attributed to the higher output from both Unki and Zimplats.

However, Zimbabwean supply is forecast to decline a more modest 4% to 438 000 ounces compared to 455 000 ounces in 2019.

WPIC said that logistical challenges will persist as the country is dependent on South African refineries although mining operations have received dispensation to continue limited production over the lockdown period.

Meanwhile, global supply was 6% lower than in 2019 due to the effects of the Anglo American Platinum converter plant outage and the mining shutdown in South Africa as means to combat the spread of COVID-19 which occurred in the last month of the quarter.

Total mining supply was down only 3% year-on-year to 1,283 koz, as the impact of the pandemic on mining occurred very late in the quarter and added to specific producer supply reductions unrelated to the pandemic.

“In addition, Q1’19 was heavily impacted by South Africa’s electricity supplier Eskom load shedding, reducing the size of the year-on-year change.” Added the Council.

Also, demand for the period under review fell year-on-year by 38% to 1 649 koz primarily due to investment demand which was 90% lower from an exceptionally high base in the same period last year.

In 2020 total platinum supply is expected to be 7,197 koz, 10%  lower than the average of the past 5 years, with total platinum demand at 6,950 koz, down 13% on the same basis while demand in 2020 is forecast to be 6,950 koz, 18%  lower than in 2019 due to lower demand from all four demand segments: automotive (-413 koz), jewellery (-315 koz), industrial (-104 koz) and investment (-647 koz).

Platinum is one of Zimbabwe’s foreign currency earners with mining South African mining companies such as Impala Platinum (Implats) and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) owning the biggest PGM mines in the country.

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