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Unki Mines invests US$48m to boost plant capacity

PLATINUM producer, Unki Mines, has invested US$48 million towards increasing its concentrator capacity, which is expected to boost output by 30 percent.

General manager, Mr Walter Nemasasi, said the new concentrator was set for commissioning sometime in September.

He was briefing the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs responsible for monitoring implementation of Government programmes, Dr Jorum Gumbo, during a recent visit of to the Shurugwi-based mine.

Mr Nemasasi said the new plant was now 75 percent complete and is expected to help cut operational costs.

The new plant will be a second major value addition and beneficiation project by the mine after the commissioning of a US$60 million smelting plant at the mine by President Mnangagwa in 2019.

“Once it becomes operational, the project is expected to increase production of platinum group concentrate at the plant by 30 percent and ultimately increase exports by the same margin,” said Mr Nemasasi.

“We are expecting to commission the new project by September and the total value will be around $48 million.”

He said the project was part of the mining giant’s commitment towards implementing the Government’s mineral beneficiation process aimed at accruing maximum benefits from the industry.

“The project is so huge in that once we finish, we will increase our production from 180 000 tonnes a month to 210 000 tonnes a month,” said the general manager.

“We will then cut our transport costs by 60 percent as most of the ore will be processed here before being exported for separation of base metals and precious stones.”

Minister Gumbo, who toured the plant, said he was impressed by the progress saying the investment was critical towards meeting the country’s vision of creating an upper middle-income economy by 2030. He said the new project has created more jobs as the company was employing locals   to speed up its completion.

“What is happening here is quite amazing. I am mostly impressed that Zimbabweans are doing the actual work at this site,” said Dr Gumbo.

“The mine is also assisting locals. Mines should take a cue from this since all their efforts eventually help the country.  What is also impressive is that our chiefs and locals are being consulted in all the developments.

“We want to see a community living in harmony with mining giants. I am happy that you are doing well through your CSR programmes.”

Minister Gumbo said infrastructure upgrade was critical for sustainable mining development that benefits local communities.

“We need to see a new and modern city sprouting in the rural area as a token of appreciation once you leave this place in future since you are mining a finite resource,” he said.

“The President has reiterated that these minerals should be exploited so that we realise development as local communities and as a nation.

“In this regard value addition and beneficiation industries will be located in specific provinces and districts where the endowments are located.”

Under the Government’s National Development Strategy (NDS 1-2021-2025), priority is being given to developing and strengthening the already existing value chains and beneficiation of the country’s minerals.

“The strategy will also prioritise decentralisation of industrialisation initiatives in line with policy thrust of devolution and decentralisation,” said Minister Gumbo.

The Government has said it was impressed by the strides made by the platinum producing company amid calls for more community social responsibility programmes. Herald

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