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AfricaTrade & IndustryZimbabwe

Unki platinum output drops 16pct in H1

By Almot Maqolo

Platinum production at Shurugwi based mine, Unki declined by 16 percent to 35 700 ounces in the first half of 2020 from 42 400 ounces recorded in the comparable period last year. In the same vein, second quarter production was down 40 percent to 13 900oz from 23 100oz in prior period last year.

The Anglo American (Amplats) owned platinum producer mine, is one of the country’s three platinum producers in Zimbabwe, along with Zimplats and Mimosa Mine. The southern African country, is home to the world’s second biggest known deposits of platinum after South Africa.

Palladium production at the mine fell 16 percent to 31 700oz year to date from 37 900oz previously. In Q2 2020, palladium production went down by 42 percent to 12 100oz from 20 900oz in the comparable period.

The mine, previously, warned that conditions required for miners to reopen operations at the start of Q2 2020 will have a negative effect on production. Zimbabwe government allowed mines to restart full production, provided they first conduct mass testing of staff and confine workers to mine accommodation. Also, miners are required to observe social-distancing, which could slow production.

“Covid-19 lockdowns across southern Africa affected De Beers, PGMs, Kumba and Thermal Coal, with lower refined PGMs production due to the repairs and ramp-up of the ACP,” said Amplats in its latest production report.

In 2019, Unki commissioned a US$62 million smelter, which now processes platinum matte for Amplats’s base metals refineries.

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