AUSTRALIA Stock Exchange-listed resources giant Zimplats has spent about US$326 million on various projects in the country, as the miner moves forward with its plans to ramp up production.
According to its quarterly activities report for the period ended June 30, 2022, Zimplats said several projects were at different stages of implementation.
“The development of Mupani Mine and upgrade of Bimha Mine to replace Rukodzi, Ngwarati and Mupfuti mines, which will be depleted in FY2022 (financial year 2022), FY2025, and FY2028 respectively, progressed well during the quarter,” the report said.
“A total of US$228 million has been spent on the project to date and US$81 million had been committed against a project budget of US$468 million.”
The company said its third concentrator, which would increase milling capacity by 0,9 million tonnes per year was on course for commissioning next month.
Cumulative project expenditure at the end of the quarter amounted to US$79 million with US$14 million committed against a project budget of US$94 million.
Zimplats said the implementation of the US$521 million smelter expansion, together with a sulphur dioxide (SO2) abatement plant project, which commenced in the previous quarter, was on course.
The project consists of the construction of a 38 megawatts (MW) furnace and establishment of an acid plant for the abatement of sulphur dioxide generated by smelter operations.
A total of US$19 million had been spent on the project and US$218 million committed as at the end of the quarter, the company said.
“Procurement processes for the US$37 million Phase 1 implementation of the 185MW solar project commenced during the quarter under review. Phase 1 is a 35MW plant at Selous Metallurgical Complex scheduled for completion in FY2024,” Zimplats said.
“Overall, the project has four implementation phases with the last phase scheduled for completion in FY2027 at a total project cost estimate of US$201 million.”
During the period under review, mined tonnage increased by 9% quarter-on-quarter and 4% year-on-year following the full recovery of Mupfuti Mine from the effects of lower trackless mining equipment availability.
The company said 6E (ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum) head grade improved by 1% to 3,44g per tonne from 3,40g/t in the previous quarter, mainly driven by the increase in the contribution of high-grade ore from Mupfuti Mine.
It said the previous quarter’s head grade was adversely affected by processing low grade development ore from Mupani Mine stockpile.
Milled tonnes increased by 4% from 1,71 million tonnes to 1,77 million tonnes compared to the prior quarter due to an increase in the number of operating days and improvement in the milling rate.
The report said 6E metal in the final product increased by 2% to 151 125 ounces from the prior quarter.
“Production for the same period last year benefited from a release of smelter inventory. Resultantly, metal in the final product was 2% lower than the same period last year,” Zimplats said. The company said total operating cash costs increased by 3% from the prior quarter, driven mainly by 9% and 4% increase in tonnes mined and tonnes milled, respectively.
“A total of US$1,1 million was transferred from operating costs to closing stocks due to the planned build-up of run-of-mine ore stocks in preparation for the commissioning of the third concentrator plant in August 2022,” Zimplats said. – (Newsday)