PLATINUM mining company Zimplats says the redevelopment of Bimha Mine remains on schedule to reach full production in April 2018.
By Melody Chikono
Bimha Mine, which collapsed in 2014, affected output, resulting in a 50% drop. This was, however, mitigated by the subsequent opening of South Pit Temporary Mine as a stop-gap measure.
As at December 31, 2017, a total of US$46,8 million had been spent on the project against an approved total project budget of US$101 million. A conveyor system is expected to bring ore from underground. A transfer tower is being set up to enable full operationalisation of the mine.
The project is expected to cost more than US$100 million. It comes at a time the mine is also developing the Base Metal Refinery in Selous as part of the beneficiation process.
In a statement accompanying its results for the Q4 ending December 30 2017, Zimplats said it was also on schedule for the development of Mupani Mine (the replacement for the Ngwarati and Rukodzi mines).
The project is targeting ore contact by May 2020 and full production in August 2025. “A total of US$20,1 million had been spent on the project as at December 31 2017 against an approved total project budget of US$264 million,” Zimplats said.
Meanwhile, Zimplats’ revenue for Q4 2017 increased by 80% from the previous quarter on the back of the sale of concentrates accumulated from the previous quarter and a 4% increase in the basket price of the metals sold.
Net operating costs increased by 84% compared to the previous quarter largely due to increases in 4E sales volumes, selling expenses arising from the export of concentrate stockpiled in the previous quarter and smelter costs.
Due to increases in revenue, royalty and commission expenses rose by 76% from the previous quarter. During the period, production increased by 2% from the previous quarter due to the ramp-up in production at Bimha Mine and a better performance at the South Pit Mine.
“Tonnes milled decreased by 3% from the previous quarter due to a seven-day mill reline shutdown at the Selous Metallurgical Complex concentrator. 4E head grade was maintained at 3,24g/t,” Zimplats said.
“The furnace, which was switched back on in October last year after a successful planned 46-day sidewall reline shutdown, smelted 32 009 tonnes of concentrate, up from 22 654 tonnes done in the previous quarter.”
The company also added that during the period under review, cash cost per 4E ounce increased by 15% from the previous quarter despite the rise in production volumes mainly due to selling expenses and smelting charges for the concentrates produced in the previous quarter, but only exported during the current quarter.