Zimplats lines up second Ngezi concentrator

CHIEDZA KOWO

NGEZI-based platinum miner, Zimplats plans to construct a new concentrator to complement US$520 million worth of green and brownfield projects that have been lined up to replace old shafts and bolster output.

The projects include Bimha mine redevelopment, which Zimplats said was completed during the half year ended December 31, 2020 after the firm invested US$100 million.

Zimplats said other projects were underway to replace two shafts that are nearing the end of their lifespan.

In addition to the Selous Metallurgical Complex, some 77 km north of Ngezi, Zimplats constructed a second concentrator at Ngezi about a decade ago.

The two plants milled a combined 3,4 million tonnes of ore during the review period.

“The board of directors approved the implementation of Mupani and Bimha mines upgrade (the replacement for Mupfuti Mine) and the construction of a third concentrator plant at Ngezi at an estimated total cost of US$297 million,” Zimplats said.

“Work on the projects has commenced targeting the commissioning of the concentrator plant in 2022 with the Bimha and Mupani mines upgrades scheduled for completion in 2023 and 2028, respectively.

“The Bimha Mine redevelopment project is essentially complete. A total of US$100 million had been spent on the redevelopment project as at December 31 2020 against an estimated project cost of US$101 million.

“The development of Mupani Mine (the replacement for Ngwarati and Rukodzi mines) is ahead of schedule and the project has started receiving fleets from the depleting mines. Installation of key infrastructure is on schedule targeting full production in August 2025. A total of US$124 million had been spent on this project as at December  31, 2020 against a project budget of US$264 million,” Zimplats noted.

The mining company is expecting the new plant to give its operation bigger capacity to produce platinum.

Zimplats, however, has not given a firm commitment on the establishment of a final refinery in Zimbabwe.

Matte produced at Zimplats and other mines in Zimbabwe is shipped to South Africa’s Bushveld Complex for final refinery.

Zimplats’ revenue increased by 79% to US$674,9 million during the period, underpinned by huge production ramp ups that were supported by rising metal prices, according to the firm’s report, which showed the continuation of a fine run that was evident in 2020.

US$378 million revenue was generated during the comparable period in 2019.

Profit before income tax increased by 197% to US$375,4 million, from US$126,5 million previously.