ZIMBABWE Platinum Mines (Zimplats) is investing over US$7,2 million in a power line project to its Ngezi Mine.
project, wholly funded by Zimplats, has received approval from Zesa Holdings to be used by its power distribution subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (Zedco).
The investment by Zimplats in the project will see a 72-kilometre line being erected with a capacity to carry up to 132 kilovolts (kV) of power to the mine. The project was necessitated by the increase in demand for power for the mine and also to cater for future development phases of the project, which will include the construction on a platinum concentrator at the mine.
Construction of the power line, which has already commenced, is scheduled to be completed in November and and handed over to Zedco to “increase the national electricity supply network”.
Currently the mine is serviced by a 33kV power line which the platinum producer plans to hand over for use by the local communities.
The Zimplats investment in the power line project comes hard on the heels of its expansion programmes which involve the extension of the existing underground mine at Ngezi as part of its transition from opencast operations to underground mining.
This will increase tonnage from underground operations from the current 240 000 tonnes a year to about 960 000. It will also reduce costs associated with opencast mining at the same mine. The company has invested US$46 million on the underground mining expansion.
Zimplats plans come after the company completed operational trials at the underground mine in Ngezi. Zimbabwe currently accounts for over 60% of Implats reserves and resources and the firm has pledged to increase platinum output in Zimbabwe to 145 000 ounces by 2006 from around 85 000 ounces currently.