Anglo seeks govt nod for Unki project

Eric Chiriga

ANGLO American Corporation Zimbabwe (Anglo) is seeking government approval to go ahead with its US$10 million Unki Platinum Project. The corporation has already submitted papers to the Ministry

of Mines.


“We are in negotiations with the government and the Ministry of Mines with regards to the Unki Platinum Project and we anticipate to have it approved in a week’s time,” said Stuart Marchant, the senior project manager.


If approved, the Unki Platinum Mine will start production at full capacity in 2007, initially producing 60 000 tonnes of platinum annually.


“However, a review of the project,” Marchant said, “had shown that output could rise by over 20% to about 106 000 tonnes of ore.”


Anglo has spent about US$700 000 on the project. Locals are expected take up a 20% empowerment stake in the project.


However, Marchant said participants in the empowerment stake were still to be finalised but would also include employees.


Anglo American Corporation, the world’s biggest platinum producer, holds a 51% stake in Unki, while Anglo American Zimbabwe has 29%.


Both firms are in turn majority-owned by mining giant Anglo American plc.

The Unki Platinum Project, situated in the Shurugwi area of the Midlands province, was officially launched by the Anglo American group in August 2003.


Feasibility studies for the project were completed in 2001 and additional trial mining was done in 2002.


Unki, together with Zimbabwe’s two platinum mines already in production, are situated in Zimbabwe’s Great Dyke belt which has the second largest platinum ore reserves in the world after South Africa.


As the country’s economy continues to decline, the mining sector has remained firm and continues to grow.


However, players in the mining sector say the policies being introduced by government, particularly the exchange rate, are not working in their favour.


“The policies introduced are a serious disincentive to our operations in the mining sector,” said Anglo Zimbabwe managing director, James Maphosa.

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