HARARE - Impala Platinum Holdings Limited (Implats)’s Zimbabwean unit, Zimplats, says it is in discussions with government after it asked the platinum miner to cede 28 000 hectares within its special mining lease area.
In a statement accompanying the platinum miner’s financials for the quarter ended December 31, 2015, Zimplats said government had written to the miner asking for the release of the property.
“On 28 December 2015 the Government of Zimbabwe wrote to the operating subsidiary requesting the release of the 27 948 hectares of ground referred to in the preliminary notice that was issued on 1 March 2013.
“The operating subsidiary responded to the Government of Zimbabwe reiterating its previous position and also seeking constructive dialogue in an endeavour to resolve the matter amicably,” Zimplats said.
On March 1, 2013, government issued a preliminary notice of its intention to compulsorily acquire land measuring 27 948 hectares within the operating subsidiary’s special mining lease area.
In response, Zimplats lodged a formal objection to the preliminary notice to compulsorily acquire the land.
Should Zimplats — Zimbabwe’s largest platinum producer — and government fail to reach an amicable settlement, government will grab nearly half of the miner’s claims.
Zimplats — 87 percent owned by South Africa’s Impala Platinum — recorded depressed revenues in the quarter, as revenue slumped 11 percent to $ 96,3 million from $108 million attributed to the drop in metal prices compounded by a two percent decrease in 4E sales volume.
The impact of the declining metal prices on cash flows has resulted in the reprioritisation of capital projects with some of them being deferred to future periods.
Zimplats’ insurers confirmed a full and final settlement of $4,2 million in respect of certain property, plant and equipment which were damaged as a result of the partial collapse of Bimha Mine in 2014.
The mine’s re-development is on schedule to reach full production in April 2018 as planned.
Registered in Guernsey, British Isles, and is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), Zimplats said ore mined increased one percent from the previous quarter mainly due to the 12 800 tonnes increase in ore mined from the group’s open pit operation.
Production from the underground mines was largely unchanged from the previous quarter.
The overall 4E head grade increased one percent from the previous quarter due to better grade performance at Bimha and Mupfuti mines.
The volume of ore milled in the quarter decreased seven percent to 1 505 from 1 614 milled previous quarter due to lower operating time as the mills for the two concentrators were relined during the quarter.
This resulted in the 4E metal in converter matte produced decreasing three percent from the previous quarter, despite the seven percent decrease in the metal produced by the concentrators.
Local spend in Zimbabwe (excluding payments to government and related institutions) for the quarter increased by 46 percent to $64 million and total payments to government in direct and indirect taxes increased from $7 million reported in the previous quarter to $8 million.