$62m Unki smelter nears completion
By Munyaradzi Musiiwa/Freedom Mupanedemo
Shurugwi-based Anglo-American Platinum Miners, Unki Mine’s $62 million platinum smelting plant is now 70 percent complete and is expected to be commissioned in July next year.
Construction of the plant commenced last year as the company heeds Government’s call on value addition and beneficiation as espoused in the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset).
Addressing journalists during a familiarisation tour of the mine on Wednesday, the project manager, Mr Clifford Mutevhe, said all the structural and engineering work for the smelting plant was complete and was now waiting electrical kitting.
He said the plant will be commissioned in July next year but will start operating on full throttle by 2019.
“This is a huge project that the mine is undertaking and work is now nearly 70 percent complete. All the structural work has been done and we are now waiting electrical kitting of the plant,” he said.
Mr Mutevhe said the smelting plant, which will consume over 11 megawatts of power upon completion, would see the company smelting about 623 000 tonnes of platinum concentrate per annum.
Unki Mine is one the top platinum firms operating in Zimbabwe together with Zimplats and Mimosa. The platinum mining companies have agreed to set up platinum refineries at their respective mining sites in line with the country’s policies.
The have also agreed to construct a single platinum processing plant.Local platinum processing would enable the country to realise more earnings from its minerals as well as curbing repatriation of profits.
In May Government signed an agreement that would see the construction of a $300 million platinum refinery, which will significantly increase platinum export earnings.
Kelltech, an Australian will form a joint venture company with Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).
The refinery will give Zimbabwe an opportunity to refine its platinum as opposed to the current process of exporting it in raw form.
The total output is thus expected to rise to 0.49 million ounces (moz) in 2026 from 0.42 moz produced this year. The Chronicle