Platinum production plummets-(08-02-07)

HARARE - Platinum giant, Zimplats Holdings Limited recorded low metal production and sales during the last quarter of the year in 2006, despite surging metal prices on the international market.
In a statement accompanying its performance for the period under review, Zimplats said open cast ore pr

oduction at Ngezi Mine was 34% lower at 214 000 tonnes compared to 322 000 tonnes in September 2006.
“Open cast ore production for the quarter was 34 percent lower than the previous quarter due to postponement of the December ore bench blasting to January. This was to enable temporary deployment of drill rigs to the capital projects. Underground ore production and grade were both in line with expectation,” said Zimplats in a statement.
The company reported that it completed the installation and commissioning of the pebble crushing circuit in November last year. The smelter also recorded a decline in concentrate filtered from 16 202 tonnes to 14 948.
“The smelter operated satisfactorily during the period. However, production was reduced as a result of the lower concentrate output following the planned seven-day maintenance shut down,” Zimplats said. The company said tonnage milled at Selous Metallurgical Complex were 10% lower than the previous quarter due to a planned seven-day maintenance shut down.
The tonnes milled declined from 544 026 in September 2006 to 487 741 in December.
Zimplats said the concentrator operated satisfactorily with both grade and recovery in line with set targets, although transport delays contributed to low metal sales in the period under review resulting in the surplus metal being accounted for in January this year.
Platinum sold in the last quarter of 2006 declined from 21 009 ounces compared to 25 990 ounces in September last year.
Palladium sales also fell from 21 460 ounces to 16 976 ounces in December, while gold sales also declined from 2 864 ounces to 2 340. The trend was the same for rhodium, nickel and copper. – Own correspondent

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