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Unki project on course

Roadwin Chirara

THE first phase of the multi-billion dollar Unki Platinum Mine Project in the Shurugwi area is progressing well and mining is expected to start in 2007/2008 as planned.

Company officials said if all goes according to plan, the first phase would start full production in 2008.

This would be followed by three other phases in the same year. It is expected that the initial phase will produce about 85 000 tonnes of ore a month and 58 000 ounces of platinum a year.

The project is a joint venture between Anglo-American Corporation Zimbabwe (AmZim) and Anglo Platinum of South Africa. James Maposa, AmZim managing director, said major strides had been made so far.

“The mine development is a relatively long process taking up to three years before being fully operational. It is planned that additional work in the areas of infrastructure and development will commence later in the year,” Maposa said.

He said to date, the mine had completed trial mining which had seen the extraction of bulk samples underground through an exploration shaft.

So far the road network leading to the site of the proposed mine and construction of a bridge over Umtebekwana River have been completed. Work on a big dam meant to supply water to the mine is also at an advanced stage.

Maposa said discussions were in progress to get an indigenous partner for the project. “Discussions are in progress which are aimed at securing an indigenous partner in the Unki Platinum project. The identity of the indigenous party cannot be revealed at this stage because of confidentiality requirements,” Maposa said.

This is in line with draft amendments to the Mining Act requiring mining investments to have 20% indigenous participation within two years.

On completion of the empowerment deal, 5% of the 20% stake will however go to AmZim workers, with Angloplat retaining a 51% stake and management control of the project while AmZim will have a 29% stake.

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