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Mimosa Mine mulls US$100m shaft expansion

Business
Mimosa Mine

MIMOSA Mining Company says it plans to inject US$100 million  towards the development of a new shaft to extend the mine’s lifespan to 22 years.

The Zvishavane-based firm is one of three platinum resource outfits in Zimbabwe, which holds the world’s third biggest claims after South Africa and Russia.

The others are Australia Stock Exchange-listed Zimplats and Unki, a unit of Johannesburg Securities Exchange-listed Anglo American. Mimosa moved to exploit the resource in 1992, a decade before Zimplats appeared on the scene, and it says only 10 years of mining is left on its claims.

General manager Steve Ndiyamba told reporters during a tour of the operation in Zvishavane yesterday that the firm had completed exploration at its North and South Hill claims as part of the shaft development programme.

“We need to invest about US$100 million into North Hill to get another 12 years,” he said.

“If we explore and investigate the other ore bodies and there is value, we may get another 10 years. So we are looking at about 30 years. We have drilled North Hill and we know what is there. We know what is in South Hill — that is what (will take us to) 22 years. But beyond that we still have to do a lot more work. But before we do that we need to spend money on North Hill to be able to take our lifespan from 10 years to 22 years,” he added.

The Mimosa boss said the firm was in full support of government’s campaign for platinum miners to establish domestic refineries to enhance accountability.

Zimbabwe’s government has always said it is not satisfied that platinum miners declare all by-products from the processing of matte, which takes place in South Africa.

Ndiyamba said Mimosa was being constrained by a diminishing resource.

“As you know, we have been encouraged to beneficiate locally as far as we can,” he said.

“Around 2016 and 2017 we carried out a study to look at setting up a smelter here. We actually produced a bankable feasibility study report which clearly show that yes, we can set up a smelter here for about US$80 million to US$100 million.

“However, the challenge that we have as Mimosa is we only have 4% of the Great Dyke (the mineral belt that holds most of Zimbabwe’s platinum).  We have the smallest resource and we are also the oldest mine. What is left in the ground is only 10 years.

“If you take a life of 22 years and invest US$100 million in a smelter, it’s not enough for you to recover that investment. So, from a business point of view, you then don’t recover that capital investment.

“However, the position we have taken is that where there is in-country processing facilities, we are prepared to join and combine with others so that we process internally,” he added.

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