Anglo's Unki plans $100m capex

HARARE - Anglo American Platinum (Anglo)’ Zimbabwe unit Unki Mine plans to spend $100 million on capital projects, including employees’ houses.

Mpumi Sithole, the miner’s media relations manager, yesterday said the projects, which began last year, comprise bulk infrastructure and is structured into two phases.

“956 houses are due for completion by no later than August 2015,” she said in an interview, adding that the homes will be unveiled in batches from October 2014.

She further said Anglo — one of the three foreign companies mining platinum in Zimbabwe — is committed to complying with Zimbabwe’s indigenisation policy, which compels foreign-owned firms to cede 51 percent shareholding to locals.

“Unki signed a heads of agreement in November 2012 with the government that set out the key steps in implementing the approved indigenisation plan for the group,” she said.

“in its opinion, (Anglo’s)…heads of agreement remain valid. Negotiations for its implementation with government will continue,” Sithole said.

As part of the $143 million sale agreement, 21 percent would be sold to the State-run National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board, 10 percent to the community around Shurugwi, 10 percent to employees and 10 percent to black Zimbabwean investors.

Indications are that the company may also be paid back the money it’s owed after the government in June assumed the central bank’s $1,3 billion debt which was owed to local companies and foreign creditors.

This comes as Anglo plans to almost triple production at Unki mine to 350 000 metric tonnes a month from the current 130 000 tonnes through an expansion that’s expected to last from 2016 until 2020.

Production at Unki, which produced 63 000 ounces of the precious metal last year, has been on a steady rise since the mine was fully commissioned at the beginning of 2011.

Sithole however noted that Unki has not reached sufficient scale to justify the construction of smelting and refining facilities as compelled by the government.

Last year, government gave platinum miners in the country a two-year

ultimatum to construct a refinery as part of its policy on mineral value addition.

“Unki will  continue its engagement strategy with the government in seeking to reach mutual beneficial outcome regarding local

beneficiation,” she said.

The Shurugwi-based mine is the last mining operation owned in Zimbabwe by

Anglo after assets ranging from gold mines to ferrochrome producers were sold as the country struggled through a decade-long recession.

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