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Zim’s first quarter platinum output jumps 3pct

ByEconomic Times

May 16, 2023

By ETimes

Zimbabwe’s platinum output for the first quarter of 2023 increased by three percent to 121 000 ounces, lifted by ongoing project developments, the World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) latest report shows.

This comes as the government has also been encouraging foreign investment in the mining industry to boost production and generate the much needed forex revenue for the country.

In the same period last year, the southern African country’s platinum output stood at 116 000 ounces.

However, first quarter platinum production was down by a negligible 2 percent when compared to Q4 2022’s 123 000 ounces.

Production from Zimbabwe is expected to reach a new high this year of around 502 koz.

“Output from Zimbabwe is also expected to continue incremental growth as additional volumes from expansion projects are realised,” WPIC stated.

The southern African country has the world’s second-largest platinum group metals resource, after South Africa, on the Great Dyke. It has three platinum-producing mines: Zimplats, Mimosa and Unki.

WPIC noted that global refined platinum production experienced an 8% decline year-on-year, totaling 1,178 koz, as gains from Russia failed to offset decreases from South Africa.

In the period, South African platinum output fell by 14% to 759 000 ounces owing to ongoing processing constraints that limited refined production.

“The impact on the quarter was in part due to Anglo American Platinum’s Polokwane smelter not having returned to full capacity, following last year’s rebuild, and maintenance operations at the Waterval smelter,” it said.

“While losses in South Africa will be offset by gains in Zimbabwe and North America, there are significant uncertainties surrounding South African platinum supply for the upcoming year.”

Zimbabwe’s platinum production surpassed 2022 estimates but fell by a negligible 1% compared to 485 000 ounces in 2021.

Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa recently told a post-Cabinet media briefing that nine units are currently being built and that they will help the mining industry reach its US$12 billion goal.

The projects include the Dinson Colliery Coke Oven Battery Construction in Matabeleland North; Lithium Processing Plant at Sabi Star in Manicaland; Mimosa Mining Company Optimisation of the Concentrator Plant in the Midlands; the RioZim Murowa 500TPH Greenfields Diamond Plant and Establishment of a Ferrochrome Smelter at Amazon in Midlands; and Tshingshan Iron Ore and Chrome/Coke Value Addition Project in Mashonaland East.

Of the US$12 billion, gold, platinum, and diamonds will contribute US$4 billion, US$3 billion and US$1 billion respectively. Chrome, iron ore and carbon steel will contribute US$1 billion while coal and hydrocarbons will do the same. Lithium contributes US$500 000 while other minerals will constitute US$1.5 billion – Harare

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