- May 4, 2021
- Posted in LOCAL
ZIMBABWE’S largest platinum miner, Zimplats, recorded low output during the third quarter ended 31 March 2021 due to the temporary closure of operations at its Ngwarati Mine early this year.
In February, the mine was temporarily shut down after a portion of the high wall at Ngwarati Mine box cut subsided, fatally injuring an employee of a contractor operating at the mine.
In a statement accompanying financial results for the period under review, Implats, which owns Zimplats, said Ngwarati Mine was expected to return to full production at the end of 2021 financial year.
“As a result, tonnes mined, milled grade and process recoveries were all negatively affected during the quarter.
“Tonnes milled were stable at 1,7 million tonnes while the delivered mill grade declined by two percent.
“The ore mix impacted process recoveries and 6E (six elements) concentrate production fell by eight percent to 138 000 ounces,” it said.
The 6E comprises platinum, palladium, gold, rhodium, ruthenium and iridium. A furnace reline was completed during the period under review and matte production including concentrate sold to Impala Refining Services (IRS) of 137 000 ounces was 10 percent weaker than in the previous comparable period.
As Ngwarati Mine was temporarily shut down, production teams were transferred to Rukodzi, Bimha and Mupani mines and milled volumes supplemented by stockpiled development ore from Mupani Mine.
For the nine months ended 31 March 2021, the impact of challenges experienced at Zimplats was mitigated by strong operational delivery prior to the Ngwarati Mine incident.
“Mill throughput of 5,06 million tonnes declined marginally from 5,08 million tonnes, with grade and 6E concentrate production one percent and three percent weaker at 3,46 grammes per tonne and 435 000 ounces, respectively.
“6E matte production in the nine-month period increased by one percent to 425 000 ounces,” said Implats.
Meanwhile, the group said tonnes milled at its managed operations increased by four percent to 5,59 million tonnes during the quarter, with higher volumes reported at Impala Rustenburg, Impala Canada, and Marula.
“Milled grade was stable at 3,64g/t and improved recoveries and yield resulted in 6E concentrate production at managed operations rising six percent to 569 000 ounces.
“6E concentrate production from the joint ventures at Mimosa and Two Rivers increased by two percent to 135 000 ounces.
In the prior comparable period, the implementation of the Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa on March 25, last year was estimated to have resulted in a six percent reduction in reported milled tonnage from Impala Rustenburg, Marula and Two Rivers, equivalent to an estimated 26 000 ounces of 6E mine-to-market concentrate production foregone.
“In the quarter under review, mine-to-market 6E concentrate production improved by six percent or 37 000 ounces to 704 000 ounces, with only Zimplats reporting lower volumes as mining and processing efficiencies were impacted by the high wall subsidence at the Ngwarati Mine box cut.
“IRS 6E in concentrate receipts from third-party and toll customers declined by seven percent to 79 000 ounces resulting in gross group concentrate production rising by four percent to 783 000 ounces,” said Implats.