ANGLO American Platinum’s local unit, Unki Platinum, reported a 15% production increase to 85 900 ounces in the full year to December 2018 up from 74 600 ounces recorded in prior year driven by an improvement in operational efficiencies.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
Quarter on quarter production was down 2% to 22 000 ounces from the 22 400 ounces recorded in the third quarter.
“Unki platinum production increased by 34% to 22 000 ounces and palladium production increased by 38% to 19 600 ounces due to a strong operational performance with a 20% increase in tonnes milled, 10% improvement in recovery and 3% improvement in built-up head grade,” Unki said in a production update.
Palladium production was up 38% to 19 600 ounces compared to 14 200 ounces recorded same period last year.
The company’s $62 million platinum processing plant is now complete and is envisaged to be commissioned this year.
Construction of the plant begun in 2016 after government threatened to shut down mines exporting unprocessed ores.
Government then introduced a 15% tax on the exportation of unbeneficiated platinum, with a view to compel mining companies to expeditiously transition towards beneficiation of the mineral.
In view of the progress and commitments made by platinum group of metals producers towards beneficiation, government, through the 2019 budget, postponed the export tax to January 1, 2022.
Previously, all three platinum miners which operate in Zimbabwe-Unki, the Impala Platinum owned Zimplats and Mimosa mine, a joint venture between Sibanye Gold and Impala, would send their mate for refining in South Africa.
According to the central bank, the country exported platinum valued $566,9 million during the first half of 2018.