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Zimplats metals output declines

Ngoni Chanakira

PRECIOUS metals output by the Zimbabwe Platinum Mines Ltd (Zimplats) will decrease a little short of its previous forecast of 168 000 ounces for this fiscal year ending June 30 2003, says Roy

Pitchford, the company’s chief executive officer.

Pitchford this week on Wednesday said because the company reduced production during the last calendar quarter ended March 31 due to mill relining, abnormal rainfall and mechanical breakdowns production would not be able to be made up this quarter.

He said output of contained platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold from Zimplats’ 70%-owned Makwiro operation totaled 35 534 ounces last quarter.

To achieve the 168 000 ounces for the mineral target would require production this quarter at levels that could not be achieved.

Pitchford said: “So production this year is likely to be between 162 000 and 165 000 ounces for platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold. Several major production constraints have been addressed during the past financial year and barring any unforeseen interruptions, production volumes for the financial year to June 2004 should be higher.”

Zimplats plans to boost platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold output to about 400 000 ounces by the end of December, with a bankable feasibility study for this to be completed by the end of 2003.

Further major expansions are planned over the ensuring 10 years, according to Pitchford.

Zimplats has vast resources of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold ore resources in Zimbabwe’s Hartley Geological Complex.

Attributable reserves at the end of 2002 totaled 313,2 million metric tonnes of ore containing 33,97 million ounces of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold, with resources estimated at 2,42 billion tonnes of ore for 321 million ounces of the respective minerals.

The country’s mineral production levels have continued to slowly decline. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe says low mineral and agricultural commodity prices had reduced incomes in all sectors of the economy.

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