A SOUTH Africa-based foundry and engineering company, Thos Begbie has won a tender to construct a smelter for Unki, one of the platinum mines in Zimbabwe.
Following the awarding of the tender last year, Thos Begbie is already on the ground working on the project.
In order to promote beneficiation of mineral resources, the Government in 2015 set out regulations aimed at restricting raw exportation of minerals from Zimbabwe.
Against this background, Zimbabwe’s three platinum mines, which also include Zimplats and Mimosa were directed by Government to set up platinum smelters.
Unki is exporting about 5 000 tonnes of platinum concentrate per month to South Africa for processing.
An online publication, miningweekly quoted the engineering firm’s sales engineer Esli Bantjes as saying: “Amplats previously only had a concentrator plant but it needs a smelter as the new regulations require the miner to produce final product for sale.”
Engineer Bantjes said his company has since completed 24 cast copper contact shoes and 12 stainless steel pressure rings and is now working on completing the required slag launders, slag tapping and matte tapping blocks for the furnace.
Construction of the smelter at the Anglo American-owned platinum producer is expected to be completed later this year.
Last year, the platinum producer announced that it has a healthy lifespan of up to 2080 while the mining giant was taping from only two of its eight exploration sites producing about 150 000 tonnes of ore per month.
The mine has eight exploration sites with platinum deposits with an estimated healthy lifespan of more than 60 years.
The mine said against this background, it was necessary to construct the smelter in line with the Government’s directive.
The platinum producer has a budget of about $62 million for the smelter construction project. —miningweekly/Business Chronicle