Zimplats production up 71pc

HARARE - South Africa-based Impala Platinum (Implats) says platinum production at its Zimbabwean subsidiary rose by 71 percent in the quarter to March 2016 due to new open-pit operations.

In the period under review, Zimplats — 87 percent owned by Implats — ramped up production to 89 000 platinum ounces from 52 000 ounces in the prior year comparable period as a result of the increased milling rate.

Implats said the release of stockpiled concentrates following a furnace outage in the final quarter of 2015 also contributed to the rise in production.

“Mill throughput over the nine-month period ended March 31, 2016 increased by 27 percent to 4,77 million tonnes, compared to 3,74 million tonnes in the corresponding prior period,” Implats said.

“The higher throughput was directly attributable to the measures implemented to recover production loses as a result of the safety closure of the Bimha Mine in August 2014,” the platinum producer added.

Platinum in matte for the nine months to March was 42 percent higher at 220 000 ounces, compared to 155 000 platinum ounces in the prior comparable period.

Tonnes milled during the quarter under review increased by 30 percent to 1,65 million tonnes compared to 1,26 million tonnes reported in the prior corresponding period.

Implats said Zimplats continues to engage with the Zimbabwean government with regards to the indigenisation implementation plan and the securing of a more conducive regulatory and fiscal framework for the mining industry in the country.

The stellar performance by Zimplats saw Implats registering a 17 percent rise in production in the quarter to the end of March.

Despite a fire at its Rustenburg operation, Implats’ output was steady at 142 000 ounces compared to 143 000 ounces in the same period last year.

But the tonnage milled declined to 2,0 million tonnes from 2,5 million tonnes the year before and so production at Rustenburg will likely decline this quarter.

Implats said it expected to produce 1,42 million refined platinum ounces compared to 1,276 million ounces last year.

“…there has been encouraging progress across the group in meeting our strategic objectives, which are aimed at building a stronger and more robust business,” Implats chief executive Terence Goodlace said.

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