ZIMPLATS Holdings Limited says production for the first quarter to March 31, 2020 totalled 151 620 ounces, which was 31 percent above the 115 908oz achieved the previous quarter.
The mine’s six elements (6E) comprise platinum, palladium, gold, rhodium, ruthenium and iridium. During the same period in 2019, 6E production stood at 143 446oz.
“6E metal production increased by 31 percent from the previous quarter. During the previous period metal production was impacted by an increase in concentrate stocks and build-up of inventory in the furnace after a major rebuild shutdown,” it said in an update.
“Some concentrate stocks produced in the previous quarter were smelted in the quarter under review.”
Ore mined in the quarter ended March 31, 2020 was 1 798 tonnes while in the previous period ore output stood at 1 803 tonnes.
“Production of mined ore was impacted by less operating days in the period under review and decreased marginally from the previous quarter,” said Zimplats.
However, as at March 31, 2020 ore milled increased by two percent to 1 702 tonnes from 1 669 tonnes in the previous quarter and the increase was attributed to higher running time.
“Running time in the previous quarter was affected by the planned mill recline shutdown at the Selous Metallurgical Complex concentrator plant,” said the company.
During the period under review, platinum was the biggest contributor to total 6E production as 69 987oz of the mineral were produced compared to 53 107oz in the previous quarter.
A total of 59 304oz of palladium were produced during the quarter ended March 2020 compared to the previous quarter’s output of 45 367oz.
Gold produced during the period under review was at 8 051oz compared to 6 705oz in the previous quarter.
As at March 31, 2020, Zimplats produced 6 269oz of rhodium up from 4 837oz in the prior quarter while ruthenium output increased to 5 414oz from 3 883oz as at the quarter ended December 31, 2019.
Iridium output as at the end of the quarter ended March 31, 2020 stood at 2 595oz compared to 2 009oz in the previous quarter.
On the other hand, production of silver during the period under review declined to 12 009oz from the previous quarter’s output of 12 836oz.
Output for other minerals such as nickel, copper and cobalt in the first quarter of 2020 improved from the previous production levels for the period ended December 31, 2019.
Nickel output was at 1 315 tonnes from 916 tonnes, copper improved to 950 tonnes from 620 tonnes while cobalt rose to 17 tonnes from 12 tonnes.
During the quarter under review, Zimplats committed US$1,1 million to exploration of which US$400 million was spent.
The group said due to the smelting of concentrates stockpiled during the quarter ended December 31, 2019, a total of US$2,2 million was transferred from the opening stock to operating cost.
“In the previous quarter, US$6,9 million was transferred from operating costs to closing stocks. Operating cash cost per 6E ounce decreased by 18 percent from the previous quarter largely as a result of the 31 percent increase in 6E metal production,” said Zimplats.