The Unki platinum mine and concentrator plant, in Zimbabwe, have been handed over to operations, reports primary producer of platinum-group metals Anglo American Platinum (Amplats).
Amplats executive head of engineering and projects Ben Magara says the project, which started in 2006, is on time, within budget and in compliance with the approved scope.
The Unki platinum mine, which is situated at the Unki deposit south-east of Shurugwi, is Amplats’ first operating mine in Zimbabwe and is expected to produce about 69 000 oz/y of platinum.
Magara notes that both the mine and the concentrator plant are in the ramp-up phase and the mine produced 130 000 milled tons of ore in September.
The concentrator, which was commissioned at the end of last year, produced 22 400 oz of platinum during the first half of this year. It is exceeding its planned ramp-up profile of 120 000 t/m.
Further, the 17-km-long main access road to the mine has just been resurfaced and construction work has started for the proposed housing development at the Impali Source farm, in Shurugwi.
“The development of the local supply base remains key to empowering local communities. In support of this drive, we have awarded the multimillion-dollar construction contract for about 900 houses to a local supplier,” he adds.
The Unki project included the development of a twin decline, with eight equipped mining sections and associated ventilation shafts.
A 120 000 t/m concentrator with an asso- ciated tailings dam was built, as well as a 8 km pipeline from the new Lucilia Poort dam to the mine reservoirs.
Further, a 33 km power line was con- structed, as well as a 132/11 kV substation.
A contactors camp, which can house 1 400 people, was also established.
It cost the platinum miner an estimated R3.4-billion to develop the project, with R350-million allocated for 2012. The mine employs about 1 000 people on a direct and permanent basis.
“The outlook continues to be positive, with production ramping up well. “Costs are being contained, as the current operations are still operating within the first quartile of the industry cost curve,” says Magara.
He adds that safety performance remains a priority and it is being managed in line with the company’s vision of ‘Zero Harm in Action’.
Giving Back to the Community
Amplats spent $2-million on community projects in the Unki area between 2009 and 2011.
Bus shelters, boreholes and Blair toilets were constructed for communities. A portion of the money was used to renovate and refurbish the Chironde clinic’s shelter for mothers.
Personal protection equipment, medicine and paint were donated to the local council, while a nearby hospital received an incinerator and a R2-million donation towards cholera prevention initiatives.
The company also provided a nearby school with textbooks and a server.