Zimplats posts $36m profit

HARARE - Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats)’ Zimbabwean subsidiary Zimplats reported a $36,1 million profit in the quarter to March 2014, up 76 percent from $20,5 million realised in prior period.

The group said the performance was on the back of firmer platinum group metals (PGM) prices.

During the period under review, the Australia Stock Exchange-listed Zimplats — holding extensive reserves on Zimbabwe’s mineral rich Great Dyke — produced 1,4 million PGM ounces, up one percent from the quarter to December.

The higher metal prices drove interim revenues up nine percent to $137,8 million from $125,9 million.

Since the beginning of the year, platinum prices have gone up about two percent to trade at around $1 419 per ounce.

Palladium has gained three percent to $745 per ounce, while rhodium has so far added about 12 percent to trade at $1 028 per ounce as of yesterday.

Zimplats noted that cash cost per 4E ounce was one percent higher than the previous quarter, mainly due to the impact of an interim wage increase for National Employment Council graded employees and insurance excess on the cost of repairing the furnace following the tap hole blow out incident in December 2013.

The platinum miner(‘s) — 87 percent owned by Implats — local spend, excluding payments to government and related institutions, decreased by 16 percent to $51 million because of the reduced work on the phase two expansion project.

“Total payments to government in direct and indirect taxes decreased by 29 percent from $29 million to $20 million compared to previous quarter mainly due to the full settlement of prior years’ tax liabilities in the previous quarter,” said Zimplats.

The miner, Zimbabwe’s largest platinum producer, said its Mupfuti Mine development remains on schedule to reach design production in early 2015.

“There are now four production fleets after the introduction of an additional fleet this quarter,” it said.

Meanwhile, Zimplats said the construction and commissioning of the Ngezi Mine phase two expansion project is on course.

The expansion, costing $460 million, is targeted to increase platinum production by 90 000 ounces to 270 000 ounces a year starting this year.

On its indigenisation plan, the miner said its proposal is still under government review.

Last year, Implats agreed with government on terms to sell its 51 percent shareholding in Zimplats in compliance with Zimbabwe’s empowerment laws.


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