Zimplats expansion drive progressing well

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Michael Tome Business Reporter
ZIMPLATS Holdings says it is targeting completion of its Mupani Mine which is part of the company’s ongoing capital expenditure projects by 2025.

Mupani is one of Zimplats capital projects along with Bimha and Rukodzi Mine refurbishments.

Inclusively these projects are expected to gobble at least $365 million upon completion.

In its half-year up to December results, the platinum miner revealed that US$79,4 million had been spent on the Mupani Mine against the target budget of US$264 million making it the most expensive capital project underway.

The development of Mupani Mine (set to replace Ngwarati and Rukodzi Mines) is ahead of schedule and focus is currently on establishing surface crushing infrastructure and treating current ore production for feed to the concentrators.

The second in term of cost is the Bimha Mine which is expected to gobble up to US$101 million upon completion and a total of US$90 million has been accumulatively spent on the mine, having completed the installation of the south underground crusher and the ore-conveyancing system.

These developments come on the back of a buoyant six months’ performance up to December 2019, where Zimplats realised a 29 percent increase in revenue to close the period at US$377, 7 million compared to the same period in the prior year, largely driven by an increase in metal prices.

The outstanding earnings performance was largely attributable to lucrative prices of palladium, rhodium, ruthenium and iridium.

Resultantly, profit before tax rose 28 percent to close the half year at US$126,5 million from US$98,5 million recorded in the prior comparable period.

Given the rising cost of living and operating costs the company says, “Administrative expenses for the half year at US$3,7 million were 12 percent higher than the restated amount of US$3,3 million incurred during the same period last year mainly due to higher corporate social responsibility costs.”

There was a noticeable decline in other incomes as the company got only US$300 000 from US$39,2 million reported in the same period last year which was mainly attributed to critical contributions made by export incentive (in the prior year) of US$29,4 million from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and a US$9,6 million refund from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) following a court ruling in favour of the operating subsidiary.

However, foreign exchange losses recorded for the half year were higher than preceding year largely as a result of the significant depreciation of the Zimbabwean dollar against the United States dollar. For the period under review, net foreign exchange transactions losses amounted to US$5,6 million up from US$1 million prior year comparative.

Meanwhile Zimplats is conducting a feasibility study to evaluate the construction of a 200MW solar powered plant to power its mines according Nico Muller chief executive officer of parent company Implats.

Speaking to Mining Weekly, Mr Muller said the proposed solar project would supply not only the required 80MW of power at Zimplats but also the 30MW the company uses at the Mimosa Mine in Zimbabwe.

“In addition, it would feed power into Zimbabwe’s national power grid as part of a broader in-country strategy.

Currently, the Zimbabwe mines, he said, were totally reliant on power from the Cahora Bassa hydro-power scheme.