A UNIT of Anglo American Corporation, Unki, has imported bricks from China to repair its furnace as there are no local suppliers, NewsDay has heard.
BY BUSINESS REPORTER
The consignment of 98 tonnes of refractory bricks came via a chartered plane this week.
It is understood that a supplier from South Africa failed to meet the requirements, hence the importation of the bricks from outside the continent.
The importation of the refractory bricks is an indictment on local brick makers that have failed to tap into the lucrative market.
An industry expert told NewsDay that miners have to import the bricks, as there was no local supplier.
“If mines want the special bricks, they have to import,” he said.
No comment could be obtained from the platinum producer.
Unki general manager Walter Nemasasi told NewsDay on Monday to send questions on email. He had not responded by yesterday.
Repeated efforts to contact him were unsuccessful as his mobile number was unavailable.
The importation of the bricks came as Unki was also working on a $62 million smelter project to process the ore before it was sent to South Africa for refining.
The miner told the media last year that the smelter would be operational in 2019.
Zimbabwe has the world’s second-largest platinum reserves after South Africa, with the country calling on platinum miners to beneficiate the metal locally.
In 2017, Unki’s platinum production was flat at 74 600 ounces while palladium production increased 5% to 64 400 ounces from 61 400 ounces in 2016.