By Nelson Gahadza
Platinum giant Zimplats Holdings says mined tonnage grew by one percent to 1,8 million tonnes during the quarter to 31 September 2021, compared to the prior quarter spurred by recommencing of operations at Ngwarati Mine.
The company in February this year reported a fatal injury when a high wall collapsed at its Ngwarati Mine boxcut, which resulted in loss of production time.
“Volumes were three percent lower than those achieved in the quarter ended 30 September 2020 and this was due to lower productivity as a result of the required ramp up of teams recommencing production at Ngwarati Mine from 1 July 2021 following the successful rehabilitation of the box-cut highwall,” the group said in a statement.
During the quarter under review, six elements (6E) production fell 7 percent compared to the previous quarter due to factory maintenance.
The 6E production stood at 143 061 ounces 153 643 ounces. However, output rose by one percent from the 142 023 recorded in the same comparative period last year.
“The concentrator at the Selous Metallurgical Complex was shut for a planned mill reline during the quarter under review,” Zimplats said.
The mining company said 6E head grade of 3,45 g/t improved one percent from the prior quarter reflecting the benefit of the resumption of production from Ngwarati Mine.
Conversely, ore milled went down by five percent to 1,67 million tonnes in the first quarter of 2022 from 1,76 million tonnes in the previous quarter. “It was stable relative to first quarter of 2021,” the company said.
Zimplats noted that metal in final product volumes in the September 2020 quarter were impacted by the deferral of concentrates smelted to the December 2020 quarter and therefore, volumes for the quarter under review were 1 percent higher.
The group said total operating cash costs surged one percent to US$100 million from US$99,5 million in the previous quarter and it was also five percent higher than the same period last year, attributed to increased Covid-19 spend and insurance costs.
“A total of US$3 million was transferred from operating costs to closing stocks during the quarter, as the group accumulated ore in anticipation of the commissioning of the third concentrator under construction at Ngezi.
“The combination of lower production volumes and higher operating costs resulted in a four percent quarter-on-quarter and a seven percent year-on-year increase in operating cash costs of US$680 per 6E ounce.”
The group spent a total of US$0,4 million on exploration projects, with a further US$1,1 million committed as at 30 September 2021.
“Exploration activities included mineral resource evaluation, comprising approximately 8 621 metres of surface diamond drilling over existing projects on the two mining leases. Exploration activities increased geological and geotechnical confidence in production schedules,” stated Zimplats.
Zimplats recently said it would invest US$1,4 billion on capital expansion projects that are currently at different stages of implementation until the year 2028.
The envisaged investment of US$1,4 billion by Zimplats is expected to see the setting up of integrated projects, including the development of new mines, expansion of the smelter, construction of an additional concentrator, base metal refinery, sulphuric acid plant and the setting up of a 110 MW solar power plant. The Herald