ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe’s second largest Platinum Group of Metals (PGM) Mimosa Mining Company, has invested in a new processing plant worth US$10m that is expected to shore up processing capacity and consequently production.
The company has since secured a processing plant from South Africa to address production inefficiencies, managing director, Mr Fungai Makoni, said in an interview on the sidelines of the company’s long service and superior performance awards.
“Our plant maintenance costs range between US$15 million and US$20 million depending on what we want to maintain from year to year. And when we talk of expansion, we are looking at removing some of the inefficiencies that are within our processes,” he said.
Mr Makoni said the company recently bought a US$10 million processing plant from South Africa and the equipment was expected to address production inefficiencies.
“The plant that we identified and bought from South Africa is in the process of being dismantled before it is brought into the country for commissioning soon.
“We want to make sure that we optimise the current production platform and get as much as we can out of what we are doing hence the decision to buy this plant,“ he said.
In June this year the mining company which is one of Zimbabwe’s three operational platinum mines, had a plant breakdown that adversely affected production.
The platinum miner has now put in place a plan to recover the total loss, which is about five percent of its annual production.
At present, the platinum miner produces between 230 000 tonnes and 270 000 tonnes of platinum concentrate per month.
Mr Makoni said mining was a capital-intensive business and thus on average the Zvishavane-based mining firm was budgeting around US$40 million and US$45 million annually for stay-in business capital for equipment replacement.
Earlier in his address during a Press conference, Mr Makoni said the operational inefficiencies they were experiencing were due to incremental production the mine has been experiencing over the years.
Mr Makoni said his company was supportive of the beneficiation initiative and would want a situation where the country has beneficiation facilities to maximise mineral output and earnings.
“Unfortunately, we are the smallest in terms of resource size, so when we put our resource up against the cost of putting up a smelter ore refinery, we then find that we cannot do that alone,” he said.
Government has called on platinum producers to promote beneficiation by setting up smelting plants at their respective mining sites while at the same time pooling resources together to construct a bigger processing plant at Zimplats.