Zimplats Q1 production rises 6%


Itai Ndongwe

HARARE – The Australian Stock Exchange-listed platinum group of metals (PGM) producer Zimplats Holding Limited says production increased by 6% for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022, totaling 148 541 ounces, which was 8.35 percent above the prior quarter, when it achieved 137 093 ounces.

The mine’s six elements (6E) comprise platinum, palladium, gold, rhodium, ruthenium, and iridium, whose production during the quarter increased due to benefitting from a positive smelter inventory movement.

“6E metal in the final product increased by 6% to 148 541 ounces from the prior quarter and increased by 8% year-on-year. Production benefitted from a positive smelter inventory movement and the treatment of concentrates stockpiled during the furnace shutdown in the prior quarter,” said Zimplats. سباقات الخيل السعودية

During the period under review, platinum (67 762 oz) and palladium (58 030 oz) were the biggest contributors to total 6E production of the minerals. They were produced compared to 64 396 oz and 54 742 oz in the previous quarter, while gold production during the quarter was at 8 591 compared to 8 144 in the previous quarter.

The update further added that 6E head grade improved marginally to 3.40g/t from 3.39g/t.

During the quarter, ore mined volumes improved by 2% quarter-on-quarter. However, they were 2% weaker year-on-year because of lower trackless mining equipment availability.

 “Mined volumes improved by 2% quarter-on-quarter and were 2% weaker year-on-year. The year-on-year decrease was mainly due to lower trackless mining equipment availability at Mupfuti Mine during the current quarter which has since been addressed. The new trackless equipment maintenance service provider has now scaled up operations to optimum level.”

 Total operational cash expenses for the group grew by 3% over the previous quarter, owing to inflation on major production inputs.

“A total of US$4.3 million was transferred from opening stocks to operating costs during the period as a result of the smelting of concentrates stockpiled during the routine furnace taphole inspection shutdown in the prior quarter. This resulted in the cost of metal produced rising by 8% versus the prior quarter.”

Volume gains at Zimplats somewhat offset inflationary pressures, resulting in a 2% increase in unit cost from US$735/oz to US$752/oz. The 6% year-on-year rise in unit costs represented the moderating impact of greater production volumes on the 15% cost increase.

Mineral exploration is important in the sector because it is the discovery and acquisition of new mineral deposits amenable to economic extractive operations now or in the future, and the Zimplats spent a total of US $0.9 million on exploration projects during the quarter review, with an additional US $1.8 million committed as of 31 March 2022.

“Exploration activities included mineral resource evaluation, comprising approximately 5 740 metres of surface diamond drilling over existing projects on the two mining leases. الطفل انتوان Exploration activities increased geological and geotechnical confidence in production schedules.”

The group is working on key initiatives in its portfolio that would expand the mining’s life term, and a budget of US $562 million has been put aside for the projects, which include the Mupani Mine Development Project, the renovation of Bimha Mine, and the construction of the Third Concentrator Plant.

“Implementation of the Mupani Mine development project, the upgrade of Bimha Mine and the construction of the Third Concentrator Plant progressed according to plan during the quarter, with cumulative project expenditure of US$241 million incurred and commitments of US$130 million at period end, versus a combined budget of US$562 million.”

The update also said that the Mupani Mine development and the Bimha Mine upgrade are replacement mines for Rukodzi, Ngwarati, and Mupfuti mines, which will be depleted in FY2022, FY2025, and FY2028, respectively. Commissioning of the Third Concentrator Plant will increase milling capacity by 0.9 million tonnes per year (equivalent to circa 80 000 6E ounces) and is expected to be commissioned in August 2023.

Furthermore, development on Zimplats’ $521 million smelter expansion and SO2 abatement plant projects has begun, and important contract commitments were made during the quarter. The project comprises the building of a 38MW furnace as well as the creation of an acid plant to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions from smelting operations.

 The group’s US million Phase 1 execution of the 185MW solar project also gained board clearance during the quarter, according to the update. betfinal The Selous Metallurgical Complex’s 35MW Phase 1 facility is expected to be completed in FY2024. The project comprises four implementation phases in total, with the last phase anticipated to be completed in FY2027 at a total project cost of US $201 million.

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