Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S largest platinum group metals (PGMs) producer, Zimplats says its six elements (6E) output improved by 12 percent to 153 643 ounces in the quarter ended June 30, 2021 from 137 093 the previous quarter.
The 6E are platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and gold.
In a trading update for the quarter ended June 30, 2021, Zimplats said:
“6E metal production in final product increased by 12 percent from the third quarter due to the combination of higher throughput and increased process recoveries.”
It said 6E metal production in final product declined by five percent from the prior June quarter when volumes benefitted from both the treatment of furnace reverts stockpiled during the furnace rebuild and higher 6E head grade and recoveries.
Ore mined increased by two percent from the prior quarter due to the increase in operating days and improved productivity from the teams redeployed to other mines following the precautionary closure of Ngwarati Mine after the high-wall collapse incident in February this year.
“While the productivity of the redeployed teams improved on the previous quarter, it remained lower than their capacity at Ngwarati Mine resulting in production being 2 percent lower than the fourth quarter last year,” said Zimplats.
Ngwarati Mine has reopened for production and Zimplats has registered 6E head grade of 3,4 gramme per tonne and 6E recovery of 77,9 percent improved from the prior quarter as the ore mix stabilised.
“However, milling of lower-grade development ore from Mupani Mine after the precautionary closure of Ngwarati Mine resulted in a three percent decline from that processed in the prior comparable quarter in 2020.
“As a result of the lower mill grade, 6E recovery was marginallylower year-on-year due to the decrease in head grade,” said Zimplats.
In the period under review, total operating cash costs increased five percent from the previous quarter due to higher volume of ore mined and milled.
In addition, costs were negatively impacted by additional Covid-19 related expenditure.
“A total of US$1 million was transferred from opening stocks to operating costs during the quarter, as concentrate stocks were reduced in the period.
“The increase in production volumes resulted in an eight percent quarter-on-quarter decrease in operating cash costs per 6E ounce to US$655. Unit costs in the June 2020 quarter benefitted from the volume gains realised from the treatment of furnace reverts.”
A total of US$1,3 million was spent on exploration projects, with a further US$100 000 committed during the period under review.
“Exploration activities included mineral resource evaluation work, comprising approximately 10 171 metres of surface diamond drilling over existing projects on the two mining leases.
“The exploration activities improved geological and geotechnical confidence in scheduled production,” it said. —@okazunga