Oliver Kazunga, Acting Business Editor
ZIMBABWE’S largest platinum miner, Zimplats says it is investing $264 million in the development of a new mine to replace Rukodzi and Ngwarati mines that are facing depletion in the next four and seven years respectively.
In the 2017 integrated annual report, Zimplats chairman Dr Fholisani Mufumadi said despite the prevailing liquidity crisis in the country, the platinum producer’s future was bright.
“The company is investing $264 million in the development of a new mine (Mupani Mine) to replace Rukodzi and Ngwarati mines which will be depleted in 2022 and 2025 respectively,” he said.
Dr Mufumadi said the development of Mupani Mine was progressing according to plan in terms of both time and cost.
“In addition, the operating subsidiary is planning to reline and improve the existing furnace to reduce the beneficiation risk.
“The future of the company remains bright despite the pressures from the liquidity challenges in Zimbabwe and low commodity prices on the world market,” he said.
Dr Mufumadi said the bright future was hinged on Zimplats’ focus on maintaining sustainable business practices, achieving production volumes, containing costs and preserving its cash resources.
“The company will continue to foster cordial working relationships with all stakeholders including the Government of Zimbabwe, its suppliers, employees, the community and the tax authorities. The board and management remain committed to complying with the laws of the countries in which the Group operates in,” he said.
On the firm’s operations during the period under review, Dr Mufumadi said the platinum producer achieved a record 7 million tonnes of ore mined up from 6.6 million tonnes in 2016.
The Zimplats chair was also optimistic that the Bimha Mine redevelopment project remains on course to reach design production in April this year.
“Ore milled increased by four percent to a record 6.7 million tonnes compared to 6.4 million tonnes in 2016. Platinum production for the year at 281 069 ounces decreased by three percent from the 290 410 ounces reported in 2016.
“The financial year 2016 metal production included metal realised from the sale of concentrate stockpiled during the furnace shutdown in 2015,” he said.
Dr Mufumadi noted that while metal prices have remained low, good financial results were recorded for the year mainly due to the excellent production performance, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s export incentive scheme and the disposal of treasury bills issued by the Government in settlement of the debt owed to Zimplats by the Central Bank.
He said Zimplats’ contribution towards the Zimbabwean fiscus and the economic development has remained positive with the mining company procuring 73 percent of its goods and services (excluding payments to government institutions) from local suppliers.
“The total value of local payments increased marginally from $252 million in 2016 to $253 million in 2017.
“Payments to the Government in respect of corporate tax, additional profits tax, royalties, payroll taxes and customs duties for the year increased from $62 million in 2016 to $86 million.”
During the period under review, Zimplats also spent 83 percent of its sales proceeds in Zimbabwe and this was in tandem with its objective to contribute positively towards the development of the local economy.