HomeBusiness DigestAmzim, local group in talks over Unki

Amzim, local group in talks over Unki

Eric Chiriga

ANGLO American Corporation Zimbabwe (Amzim) has begun negotiations with an indigenous partner that will take up the 20% empowerment stake in Unki Platinum Mine.

ce=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>This comes after Amzim and its parent company, Anglo American Corporation, reached an agreement to establish the corporate framework and funding arrangements for their Unki Platinum Mine. The conglomerate is still awaiting the central bank and Ministry of Mines’ approval.

“We are on track to comply with the recently published draft amendments requiring 20% indigenous participation,” James Maposa, the managing director of Amzim, said.

However, Maposa said further details could not be released at this time as negotiations of this kind were governed by confidentiality requirements.

“The agreements to establish the corporate framework, funding and management arrangements for the Unki Mine have been concluded,” Maposa said.

He said Amzim had already submitted the agreements to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and the Ministry of Mines for the necessary regulatory approvals.

Maposa said Anglo American and Anglo Platinum were assessing amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act and draft regulations and the RBZ’s Enhanced Platinum Sector Regime (EPSR) presented in the monetary policy statement of January 26.

“We will engage the government in due course,” Maposa said.

Under the EPSR generic structure, each platinum exporter will be required to open four special platinum sector foreign currency accounts (FCAs) with a local commercial bank or merchant bank.

The bank will in turn lodge the foreign currency in mirror offshore Trust Foreign Currency Accounts (TFCAs) for the exporter held by the RBZ.

The special FCAs will be managed in strict conformity to Account Management Agreements drawn and agreed upon by the platinum exporters, the RBZ and the local managing bank.

He said investigations to optimise the resource revealed that a mine of increased capacity at 120ktpm might be feasible so management agreed to review the capital estimate to cater for the increased size.

“This has been initiated at a cost of US$1,25 million (about $13 billion) and drilling has already commenced,” Maposa said.

Other works initiated and completed include design of the mine tailings dam, first stage design of the increased size concentrator, update of the existing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and detailed design of additional areas of the surface infrastructure.

Total funding committed to the project since 2003 is now in excess of US$17 million (about $117 billion).

The Unki Platinum Mine is situated in the Shurugwi area of the Midlands Province and 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 other mines that are already in production, are situated along Zimbabwe’s Great Dyke belt, which has the world’s second largest platinum ore reserves after South Africa.

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