Home » Business » Unki Platinum Mine Resumes Expansion

Anglo America Platinum’s Zimbabwe platinum mining arm, Unki Platinum Mine has resumed expansion which was temporarily put on hold last year due to fall of platinum prices on the global market.

In an interview with The Herald Business yesterday, Anglo America Platinum’s media and external relations manager said Unki Platinum Mine is currently operational as usual.

“We continue to operate as normal and our performance is noted in our annual report for 2013,” said Ms Mpumi Sithole.

She said a twin-decline shaft system has been put in place to provide access to underground workings for underground personnel, material as well as for ore conveyance.

Both decline shafts are now 1,770 metres from the portal on surface.

With current operations now properly established, studies are in progress to determine the optimal expansion of the mine to a level that would significantly contribute to the company’s strategy to lower its operating cost base.

Twelve mining sections have so far been established, 10 of which are fully equipped and have strikes belts for transferring ore directly onto the main decline shaft conveyor.

The company is also looking at exploiting the opportunity to expand its production from the world’s second-largest known economic platinum resource.

Unki Platinum Mine is expected to maintain its current production level of 63 200 ounces of platinum annually.

The mine has continued to increase its production of equivalent refined platinum ounces year-on-year. Equivalent refined platinum production for Unki Mine increased by 2 percent year-on-year to 63 200 ounces in 2013.

Tonnes milled increased to 1,57 million, up by 2 percent year-on-year, while the 4E built-up head grade remained constant at 3,40 grade per tonne.

The immediately available ore reserves at 11,9 months were lower than in 2012.

Remaining project work currently in progress includes primarily the construction of the mine-employee housing complex in Shurugwi worth about $25 million.

Construction work for the current phase is scheduled for completion in 2015.

In an interview this year, Unki Platinum Mine general manager Mr Walter Nemasasi said the company’s focus is now on completing the housing project.

He said once the price of platinum picks up, the company was ready to explore other avenues in their expansion programme.

Run-of-mine ore is processed at the 120 000 tonne-per-month concentrator plant on site.

The life-of-mine of the current operations at Unki East extends to 2049, although projects in study could extend the LoM to 2089.

Unki Platinum Mine’s Mineral Resource (exclusive of Ore Reserves) stands at 25,6 million 4E ounces, while its Ore Reserve stands at 6,0 million 4E ounces.

Anglo-American Platinum invested $350 million at Unki Platinum Mine and the platinum giant has been operational since 2011 producing 120 000 tonnes of ore per month.

Source : The Herald