HARARE – Platinum production at Shurugwi based mine, Unki rose by 4 percentage points to 89 400 ounces in 2019 from 85 900 ounces recorded in 2019 backed by improved mining efficiencies.
The Anglo American owned platinum producer, is one of the country’s three platinum producers in Zimbabwe, along with Zimplats and Mimosa Mine. Zimbabwe, is home to the world’s second biggest known deposits of platinum after South Africa.
Unki’s fourth quarter platinum production in 2019 was up 6% to 23 300oz from 22 000oz in the same period of 2018. However, when compared to Q3 2019 it declined marginally by 2 percentage points to 23 700oz.
The mine’s FY19 palladium production increased by 5% to 79 200oz from 75 500oz. Q4 2019 output rose 2 percentage points to 20koz from 19 600oz in Q4 2018. But, when compared to Q3 2019, it went down by 6% to 20koz in Q4 2019 as mining is slowed down during the rainy season.
The group’s platinum and palladium output both increased by 10% to 531 700oz and 360 400oz respectively.
“We have delivered our full year production targets across the business,” said Anglo American Chief Executive Mark Cutifani.
Own mined platinum production increased by 18% to 361 900oz and palladium production was up 17% to 275 000oz.
Refined platinum production declined by 18% to 629 700oz and refined palladium production declined by 20% to 396 600oz. Excluding the impact of the tolled volumes that were previously purchased as concentrate, refined platinum production was flat and palladium declined by 6% as improved operational performance at the processing facilities was offset by the impact of Eskom power outages.
Platinum sales volumes declined 14% to 668 300oz. Palladium sales volumes went down by 4% to 435 800oz due to lower refined production in the period. The full year price per platinum ounce for the basket of metals sold rose 27% to $2.819/oz compared to 2018 due to 48% and 73% price increases in palladium and rhodium respectively.
Anglo American’s 2020 production guidance (metal in concentrate) remains unchanged at 2.0-2.2 million ounces of platinum and approximately 1.4 million ounces of palladium, subject to Eskom power performance.
Exploration and evaluation expenditure surged by 15% to $92 million. Exploration expenditure increased by 52% to $44 million largely on increased drilling activities in Copper, PGMs and Kumba Iron Ore. Evaluation expenditure declined 4% to $49 million due to decreased works in Copper, partially offset by increased spend in Metallurgical Coal, Thermal Coal and De Beers.