Unki mine records strong Q4 production as parent stumbles

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HARARE – Unki Mine, an underground mine located in the center part of Zimbabwe in Gweru recorded a strong production performance during the fourth quarter ended 31 December 2020 highlighted by a 7% increase in PGM production to 55,000 ounces compared to the corresponding quarter in 2019.

The performance was attributed to a higher 4E built-up head grade and higher throughput. Platinum production increased by 6% to 24,600 ounces and palladium production increased by 10% to 22,000 ounces.

The positive performance from Unki was, however, not enough to save the parent, Anglo American Platinum’s (Amplats) overall performance for the period under review.

In a production update, the Group said PGM production at own-managed mines decreased by 8% to 617,800 ounces due to the closure of mined-out infrastructure at Amandelbult and community-related disruptions at Mogalakwena.

“Unki and Mototolo delivered strong production,” Amplats said.

Joint operations PGM production decreased by 14% to 198,000 ounces attributed to self-imposed safety stoppages at Modikwa following the fatal incidents, as well as unprotected strike action at both Kroondal and Modikwa,

Total Platinum and palladium production was down 6% to 497,800 ounces and 338,400 ounces respectively.

Meanwhile, PGM sales volume from production (excluding trading activities) decreased by 47% to 754,300 ounces, driven by lower refined production, but partially offset by a drawdown of refined inventory. Platinum sales volume decreased by 53% to 311,200 ounces and palladium sales volumes decreased by 41% to 258,200 ounces.

In a comment, Natascha Viljoen, CEO of Anglo American Platinum, said “production performance was strong considering the ongoing implications of Covid-19. We reached 100% normal capacity by the end of the quarter, due to protocols being embedded and work routines put in place. Whilst refined production was lower, we successfully and safely completed the rebuild of the ACP Phase A unit ahead of schedule and recommissioned the plant on 24 November 2020.”

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