Unki's platinum production up 14pc

HARARE - The world’s largest platinum producer Anglo-American Platinum (Amplats) says production at its Zimbabwean unit went up 14 percent to 19 000 ounces on the back of improved production.

Amplats, which owns and operates Unki Platinum Mine (Unki), said the Shurugwi-based mine’s contribution resulted in a four percent increase in the group’s total platinum production to 567 000 ounces.

“Production from Unki increased 14 percent to 19 000 ounces due to improved running time of the concentrators and increased head grade. In total, production from retained own mine operations increased 18 percent compared to the prior period,” Amplats said in its first quarter to March 2016 production update.

Platinum production from the group’s own mines and tailings retreatment increased seven percent to 381 000 ounces from 357 000 ounces due to higher production from Amplats’ Amandelbult and  Mogalakwena, as well as Unki, partially offset by lower production at Rustenburg.

“Amandelbult increased by 33 percent to 111 000 ounces due to improved mining efficiencies and increased concentrator recoveries.

“Production at Mogalakwena increased seven percent to 109 000 ounces due to higher grade and improved concentrator throughput,” Amplats said.

The group’s Union Mine had a solid performance during the quarter, maintaining production at 34 000 ounces.

Rustenburg — including Western Limb Tailings Retreatment — production decreased by 15 000 ounces to 106 000 ounces due to mining through difficult ground areas and lower grade.

Production from joint venture operations and associates (mined and purchased), excluding third party purchase of concentrate, increased by six percent to 185 000 ounces due to improved production at Kroondal, BRPM and Mototolo.

The platinum mining giant also said its full year guidance of between 2,3 – 2,4 million ounces of produced production remained unchanged.

This comes as Amplats last year announced it was postponing all major project investment decisions at Unki until at least 2017.

Consequently, the mine then shelved a planned mine expansion project due to depressed prices of the base metal on the international market.

The Shurugwi-based mining concern had announced it was set to build a smelter at the mine, but instead, also asked suppliers during the same period to cut prices by between five to 15 percent in line with depressed platinum prices.

Amplats is a global and diversified mining business with mining operations, growth projects and exploration and marketing activities extend across southern Africa, South America, Australia, North America, Asia and Europe.

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