Unki Mines invests US$48m to boost plant capacity
Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
PLATINUM producer, Unki Mines, has invested US$48 million towards increasing its concentrator capacity which is expected to boost output by 30 percent.
General manager, Mr Walter Nemasasi said the new concentrator was set for commissioning sometime in September.
He was briefing the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs responsible for monitoring implementation of Government programmes, Dr Joram Gumbo, during a recent visit to the Shurugwi-based mine.
Mr Nemasasi said the new plant was now 75 percent complete and is expected to help cut operational costs.
The new plant will be a second major value addition and beneficiation project by the mine after the commissioning of a US$60 million smelting plant at the mine by President Mnangagwa in 2019.
“Once it becomes operational, the project is expected to increase production of platinum group concentrate at the plant by 30 percent and ultimately increase exports by the same margin,” said Mr Nemasasi.
“We are expecting to commission the new plant by September and the total value will be around $48 million.”
He said the plant will enhance mineral beneficiation that ensures the country derives maximum benefits fom its mineral resources.
“The plant will enable the mine to increase production from 180 000 tonnes a month to 210 000 tonnes,” said Mr Nemasasi.
He said the new development will also cut transport costs by 60 percent as most of the ore will be processed at the mine before being transported to South Africa for separation of base metals and precious stones.
Minister Gumbo, who toured the plant, said he was impressed by the progress saying the investment was critical towards meeting the country’s vision of creating an upper middle-income economy by 2030. He said the new project has created more jobs as the company was employing locals to speed up its completion.
“What is happening here is quite amazing. I am mostly impressed that Zimbabweans are doing the actual work at this site,” said Dr Gumbo.
He said the mine was also assisting locals and urged other mines to emulate what Unki Mines was doing.
“What is also impressive is that our chiefs and locals are being consulted in all the developments.
“We want to see communities living in harmony with mining giants like Unki. I am happy that you are doing well through your CSR ( Corporate Social Responsibility) programmes.”
Minister Gumbo said infrastructure upgrade was critical for sustainable mining development that benefits local communities.
“We need to see a new and modern city sprouting in the rural area as a token of appreciation once you leave this place in future since you are mining a finite resource,” he said.
Minister Gumbo said President Mnangagwa has said minerals should be exploited to develop communities and the country.
“In this regard value addition and beneficiation industries should be within communities so that they benefit from their natural resources,” he said.
Under the Government’s National Development Strategy (NDS 1-2021-2025), priority is being given to developing and strengthening the already existing value chains and beneficiation of the country’s minerals.
“The strategy will also prioritise decentralisation of industrialisation in line with the devolution thrust,” said Minister Gumbo.