ZIMBABWE Platinum Mines (Zimplats) contributed a total of R819 million profit to Impala Platinum (Implats) in the year ended June 30, 2008 up from R716 million same period the previous year.
Implats posted a R16,6 billion profit from operations up from R12,3 billion in the comparable prior year. The group’s revenue went up to R37,6 billion from R31,5 billion.
Implats reported in the consolidated statement of the annual results that despite the problematic operating environment, Zimplats produced 94 300oz of platinum-in-matte, a 2,3% decline from the previous year.
Zimplats recorded sales of R2,1 billion during period under review up from R1,7 billion in 2007.
Impala holds 86% of Zimplats.
Open-cast and underground production both increased marginally. However, the grade fell to 3,53g/t due to lower grade opencast tonnes.
The start of production from portal 1 (part of the phase 1 expansion project) helped to offset the reduced output from portal 2, the original underground trial mine, which experienced problems with equipment availability and power outages. The group said that Zimplats’ phase 1 expansion project continued during the year while the smelter was successfully refurbished and will operate at full capacity of 180 000oz of platinum annually on completion of the project in 2011. Plant capacity is increased by 500 000 t per annum following modifications already
undertaken. The opencast operation has been extended to November 2008 to accommodate the additional capacity.
Implats said further extension of the opencast is under review.
“The extra tonnes will be stockpiled to supply the concentrator enabling it to run at full capacity of 2mt annually from May 2009, when production from portal 4 is to begin ramping up,” the group said.
Meanwhile, African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) is reportedly considering “a number of platinum opportunities” in Zimbabwe, where it has registered a company.
The vehicle that the company intended using in Zimbabwe was ARM itself and not the company’s exploration company, Teal, reflecting the seriousness ARM executive chairman Patrice Motsepe was said to be attaching to the company’s intentions in Zimbabwe.
Motsepe said ARM had been involved in meetings “at all levels” in Zimbabwe.
“As far as platinum in Zimbabwe is concerned, we have a number of opportunities that we are busy considering currently and whatever decision we take there will have to be value adding,” ARM was quoted saying this week
Motsepe said that ARM had been looking at Zimbabwe for many years and was continuing to look at it.
“We’ve had numerous meetings at all levels and we will make announcements in due course,” he added.
ARM could not wait for “stability” in Zimbabwe, Motsepe said, because “that kind of coming together would create an exciting environment for all”.
He emphasised that whatever ARM —— which currently has a market capitalisation of R50-billion from a fraction of that only four years ago —— did in Zimbabwe would have to be “good for the people of Zimbabwe” and he hoped for stability because Zimbabwe would “take off” once stability had returned.
“There are some deposits there that are much, much better than what we have in South Africa,” Motsepe said.
While ARM is registered in Zimbabwe, it had not yet acquired any assets.
By Paul Nyakazeya