Platinum producer Zimplats has commissioned a new US$100 million concentrator plant to support its US$1.8 billion expansion of the country’s biggest mine.
Zimplats is currently developing two mines, Bimha and Mupani, and the extra output means the mine requires extra concentrator capacity to process the additional ore. Before the new plant, the mine ran two concentrators at Ngezi and Selous. A third concentrator – the plant which turns ore into raw materials for platinum extraction – has now been commissioned.
“During the development phase, we employed, at peak, 700 people. Nearly 6000 jobs will be created during the course of the expansion,” Thandi Orleyn, chair of Zimplats’ holding company, Implats, said at the mine on Wednesday.
In 2021, Zimplats announced US$1.8 billion to develop new mining areas and increase processing, the largest investment by a single company into Zimbabwe in recent years. The project is being funded from Zimplats’ own profits, and not from lending.
On future prospects in Zimbabwe, Orleyn said her company would stay the course as long as the environment allowed.
“We’re already spending US$1.8 billion and that is going to take time to complete and implement. Depending on the legislative framework and our relationship, we see a future in Zimbabwe, and we have been working well with the Zimbabwe government,” she said.
With the new investment, Zimplats will add 180,000 ounces to production per year. In 2022, Zimplats produced 583,000 ounces.
Projects under the US$1.8 billion investment include:
- The development of a new mine, Mupani, and the upgrade of Bimha Mine. So far, Zimplats has spent US$295 million out of a budget of US$468 million for this.
- A US$521 million expansion of smelter capacity. So far, Zimplats has spent US$66.6 million.
- A base metal refinery that will meet part of the country’s ambitions for local value addition.
- A 185MW solar plant for US$201 million. The first phase of 35MW will be completed in July.