By Oliver Kazunga
Zimbabwe’s largest platinum producer, Zimplats, has spent $72 million of the $101 million that was set aside for the redevelopment of Bimha Mining project, one of the company’s mines.
In a production update for the quarter ended September 30, 2018, the platinum producer said:
“The installation of the north underground crusher and the ore-conveyancing system at Bimha Mine were completed during the quarter while the south underground crusher and ore-conveyancing system are scheduled for commissioning in May 2019.
“A total of $72 million had been spent as at 30 September 2018 against a budget of $101 million”.
Bimha Mine, which collapsed in 2014, affected production at Zimplats resulting in a 50 percent decline in output. However, the drop in the company’s output was mitigated by the preceding opening of South Pit Temporary Mine.
The mining concern said the development of Mupani Mine (the replacement for Ngwarati and Rukodzi mines) was ahead of schedule, targeting ore contact by August 2019 and full production in August 2025.
“A total of $46 million had been spent as at 30 September 2018 against an approved total project budget of $264 million,” it said.
On the overall performance of the mines during the period under review, Zimplats said the operations performed well producing four percent more than the previous quarter, with all mines operating at design capacity. In the previous quarter, Bimha Mine was still ramping up production.
“Tonnes milled increased by six percent from the previous quarter due to higher running time. Running time for the previous quarter was impacted by planned mill reline shutdowns. The 4E head grade was maintained at 3,23 g/t.”
The furnace operated well during the quarter under review, smelting 34 600 tonnes of concentrate, which was 10 percent up from the 31 434 tonnes smelted in the previous quarter.
The platinum miner attributed the above increase to higher smelter availability rates, with the previous quarter’s availability rates impacted by the planned seven-day tap block inspection shutdown in May 2018.
“4E metal sales for the quarter, at 141 005 ounces, were nine percent higher than the previous quarter, mainly due to the increase in production.
“Revenue increased by one percent from the previous quarter due to a nine percent increase in the volume of 4E metal sold, which was partly offset by the softening of metal prices (gross revenue per 4E ounce decreased by eight percent from $1 067 to $985),” said Zimplats. The Chronicle