Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) output at Shurugwi based Unki Mine rose 4 percent to 204 600 ounces in 2021 driven by improved operating efficiencies, the platinum miner’s South African parent company, Anglo American, said on Thursday.
The Anglo American owned platinum producer mine, is one of Zimbabwe’s three platinum producers in Zimbabwe, along with Zimplats and Mimosa Mine.
Completion of the company’s R700 million de-bottlenecking project towards year end resulted in improved capacity.
The project focused on upgrading the flotation circuit, the primary mill and other ancillary equipment.
“Production at Unki increased by 13 percent to 63,200 ounces (Q4 2021) due to the successful completion of the de-bottlenecking project at the concentrator,” stated Anglo American in a trading update.
Unki mine increased production by 23 percent to 98 900 PGM ounces in the first half of 2021 compared to 80 300 PGM ounces in the same period last year.
Production suffered no impact from Covid-19, with greater throughput and higher concentrate recovery being primarily responsible for the improvement in output.
Unki last year invested US$48 million towards increasing its concentrator capacity, which is expected to boost output by 30 percent.
General manager, Walter Nemasasi, at the time said the new concentrator was set for commissioning sometime in September last year.
The new plant was a second major value addition and beneficiation project by the mine after the commissioning of a US$60 million smelting plant at the mine by President Mnangagwa in 2019.
The project was expected to increase production of platinum group concentrate at the plant by 30 percent and ultimately increase exports by the same margin.
The company said the project was so huge that it will increase production from 180 000 tonnes a month to 210 000 tonnes a month.
Zimbabwe is envisioning a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023. Of the US$12 billion, platinum will contribute US$3 billion.