PLATINUM producer Zimplats 4E metal production rose by 3% to 147 136 ounces in the quarter to June 30 from 143 446 ounces in the previous period due to metal recoveries.
BY MISHMA CHAKANYUKA
Compared to the same period last year, the output was higher by 6% from 139 421 ounces.
“Metal production in the final product increased by 3% and 6% from the previous quarter and prior year’s comparable quarter, respectively, mainly due to metal recovered from draining the furnace for the major rebuild, which commenced on June 10, 2019,” Zimplats, in the quarterly update for the period under review, said.
In terms of platinum production, this increased by 2% to 67 978 ounces in the period under review from the previous quarter’s 66 495. It was also an increase of 4% from 62 629 ounces over the same time-frame last year.
In a quarter-to-quarter comparison, gold remained stagnant at 8 496. But this level of production was an improvement of 18% from 7 213 ounces recorded in the comparative 2018 period. Other metals that saw increases in production during the period under review compared to the previous quarter were palladium and ruthenium (4% and 3%), respectively.
Despite the increase in metal production, Zimplats recorded a 2% reduction in ore mined in the quarter under review to 1 673 tonnes from the previous quarter’s 1 708 tonnes.
This was due to a temporary work stoppage following a fatal accident experienced at Mupfuti Mine in April 2019.
However, ore mined increased by 7% from the prior year’s 1 564 tonnes, largely due to fleet productivity improvements undertaken within this year.
“Sadly, the group recorded a fatality and four other lost-time injuries during the quarter. The fatal accident, which claimed the life of Mr Richard Mapuranga, happened at Mupfuti Mine on April 5, 2019 and was reported in the previous quarter’s report. Work to re-energise the teams after this experience has commenced, and we are confident the situation will be turned around,” Zimplats said.
Despite the loss of life, Zimplats said that the group’s ultimate safety objective is the achievement of a “zero-harm” status. “This commitment continues to be the guiding principle and the bedrock on which the group’s activities and processes are built,” Zimplats said.
Zimplats added that the number of fatality free-shifts dropped from 10 million to 0.5 million.
Tonnes milled decreased by 2% to 1 570 tonnes in the period under review from the 1 604 tonnes recorded in the previous quarter. However, this was a 1% decrease from 1 578 tonnes in the comparative 2018 period.
A total of US$2,67 million was spent during the period under review on surface drilling. “The operating cash cost per platinum ounce decreased by 12% (to US$1 209) from the previous quarter (US$1 371), mainly due to a 10% decrease in operating costs (to US$82,17 million) and a 2% increase in platinum production. Operating costs decreased from the previous quarter, mainly due to improved efficiencies,” Zimplats said.