This was despite a poor performance by the JSE-listed Impala Platinum, Zimplatss owner, which reported a 22 per cent fall in full-year profit, in the wake of reduced demand for the precious metal. Despite the dollarisation of the economy, which affected costs, higher production volumes resulted in unit costs declining by 22 per cent to US$1 007 per platinum ounce in matte. This firmly positions Zimplats as one of the lowest-cost primary platinum producers in the world, said Implats.
It said its US$ 450 million Ngezi Phase Two expansion project has begun and it expected work to have been completed by mid-2014, notwithstanding a barrage of recent criticism by President Robert Mugabe that the company was not playing a positive part in the countrys economy.
The expansion at Zimplats was successfully commissioned and throughput at Impala Refinery Services (IRS) grew significantly contributing to a two per cent increase in gross production to 1.74 million ounces of platinum, it said. Zimplats said the 2010 financial year proved a truly outstanding operational period for Zimplats, crowned by the successful commissioning of the Phase one expansion, essentially on time and within budget. The project involved the development of two new underground mines, Portals 1 (Ngwarati) and 4 (Bimha), a new concentrator at Ngezi and additional infrastructure, it added.
The concentrator was commissioned in July 2009 and reached nameplate capacity of two million tons in September 2009. As a result tons milled increased by 89 per cent to 4.1 million, from 2.2 million in the previous year and platinum production in matte rose by 81 per cent to 173 900 ounces.
Mimosa, its 50-50 joint venture with Aquarius Platinum Limited which produces 50,000 platinum ounces, also achieved another excellent safety record with no fatalities reported during the period .The lost-time injury frequency rate improved by 33 per cent to a new low of 0.35 per million man hours worked, according to the statement.
Implats said Zimplats submitted its response to these proposed indigenisation laws to the relevant authorities on 14 April 2010. It revealed it had paid the Zimbabwean government about US$23 million in the 2009 financial year to settle a tax dispute, and added that the period under review had yielded excellent operational results for its Zimplats unit.
Zimplats is one of the few companies that kept faith in Zimbabwe at the height of economic meltdown, remaining in the country while scores of other mining companies were shutting down their operations.Post published in: Economy