Unki Q4 output down

HARARE - Anglo American Platinum (Amplats)’s Zimbabwean unit Unki Mine (Unki) production for the 2014 fourth quarter declined marginally to 412 000 tonnes from 414 000 tonnes achieved in prior quarter.

The Shurugwi-based mine’s platinum group metals (four elements grade) output also dropped to 3,02 grammes per tonne from 3,16 grammes while it produced 15 000 ounces of refined platinum against 16 000 ounces in prior period.

Unki is Zimbabwe’s third largest platinum producer after Zimplats and Mimosa mines.

Amplats is set to announce its financial results for the year to December 2014 next month.

Meanwhile, last year Unki revealed plans to spend $100 million on capital projects, including employees’ houses.

Mpumi Sithole, the miner’s media relations manager 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.

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