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Zimplats to meet targets


VICTORIA FALLS — Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Zimplats) will meet its production target of 140 000 platinum ounces by end of June and complete expansion projects that will nearly double output in the first quarter of next year, an official has said.

In 2010, the company began the Ngezi Phase 2 expansion involving the development of a new two million tonne underground mine, an additional concentrator and associated infrastructure at a cost of $460 million.

At completion in 2015, it will push Zimplats’ refined platinum production to 270 000 ounces. The project is the second stage in a series of planned expansions to grow the business.

Chief executive Alex Mhembere said on Friday that they were on target in terms of both production and the two projects with the service operations having been completed.

“We are on target to complete the underground operations by March next year. This year we are on target in terms of production and costs and by end of June we should have produced 140 000 platinum ounces,” he said.

Mhembere said they were working closely with the government on indigenisation, a law which requires foreign owned firms to sell 51% shares to local blacks.

South African miner, Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats) which owns 87% of Zimplats, signed a preliminary agreement in January 2012 to sell part of its stake to local investors to meet the statutory requirement.

But the government last year said it was reviewing previous empowerment deals with foreign-owned companies, including the $971 million agreement with Zimplats.

“We are ready to complete the formal processes for the community and the employees. Those will be finalised shortly,” Mhembere said.

“We are just waiting for the documentation that’s in progress and the legal processes to complete the transactions in terms of the agreements, registrations.”

From the 51%, 20% will go to employees and communities, but the company is in discussions with the Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa over the remaining 31%.

On the government’s seizure of over 27 000 hectares of Zimplats land, nearly half of its claims last year as part of policy to reclaim idle mining claims, Mhembere said they had submitted an objection at the time and there were no new development.

— The Source

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