By Freeman Makopa
Zimbabwe’s largest platinum producer, Zimplats, reported a 10% increase in revenue to $152,9 million in the quarter ended December 30 buoyed by firm metal prices on the international market.
During the quarter under review, gross revenue per 4E ounce increased by 19% to $1,173; up from $985 in the previous quarter.
The favourable metal prices were, however, partly offset by a 7% reduction in the volume of 4E metal sold. 4E metal sales in the quarter amounted to 130 432 ounces.
Overall metal production decreased by 5% from the previous quarter, in line with the 5% decrease in the volume of concentrates smelted, which resulted from a routine seven-day furnace shutdown.
“Ore mined increased by 3% from the previous quarter, mainly due to productivity improvement initiatives implemented during the quarter. But production for the quarter decreased by 5% from the same period last year due to the closure of the South Pit Mine in March 2018,” the company said in a statement.
“Tonnes milled decreased by 3% from the previous quarter due to a lower milling rate and a decrease in the running time of the mills due to the planned SMC concentrator mill reline shutdown.”
Net operating costs decreased by 14% to $82,6 million compared to the previous quarter owing to the decrease in sales volumes and an increase in export incentives.
Royalty and commission expenses increased by 13% from the previous quarter due to the increase in sales revenue (driven mainly by palladium and gold) resulting in an increase in total direct and indirect tax payments to the government which increased to $16 million from the $13 million reported in the previous quarter.
The company reported that the redevelopment of Bimha Mine remains on schedule.
“Installation of the north underground crusher and the ore-conveyancing system were completed during the quarter. The south underground crusher and ore-conveyancing system are scheduled for commissioning in August 2019. A total of $76 million had been spent as at December 31, 2018, against a total project budget of $101 million,” Zimplats added.
The development of Mupani Mine, which will replace Ngwarati and Rukodzi mines, is ahead of schedule, targeting ore contact by August 2019 and full production in August 2025. A total of $51 million
had been spent as at December 31, 2018 against a total project budget of $264 million.