Anglo American plans to expand production at Unki mine in Zimbabwe

1 September 2014 (Last Updated September 1st, 2014 18:30)

Anglo American Platinum is planning to triple production at its Unki mine in Zimbabwe, despite not receiving the $109m seized by the government as foreign exchange during the period from 2006 to 2009.

Anglo American Platinum is planning to triple production at its Unki mine in Zimbabwe, despite not receiving the $109m seized by the government as foreign exchange during the period from 2006 to 2009.

In 2013, the Unki mine produced 63,000oz of platinum ore and has increased that number to 130,000t recently, reported Bloomberg.

However, the company now plans to enhance production and produce around 350,000oz of ore a month.

The mine expansion will allow the company to maintain its targeted production rates until 2020.

Under the expansion plan, Anglo American Platinum will increase the number of sections from 11 to 20 and mine further deep at 1.8km, against the current 1.5km.

"Studies are still in progress to determine the actual cost of the ramp-up phase."

Unki Platinum general mine manager was quoted by the news agency as saying: "Studies are still in progress to determine the actual cost of the ramp-up phase.

"By end of the year, we'll know how much it would cost."

As part of expansion, the company will also reduce the mine's life from 80 to 50 years.

The expansion comes amid growing pressure from the government on platinum producers to build a refinery in the country.

Unki minerals marketing manager Caston Musa said: "Unki has not reached sufficient scales to justify the construction of smelting and refining facilities.

"Unki will continue its engagement strategy with the government in seeking to reach a mutual beneficial outcome regarding local beneficiation."

In addition to Anglo American's Unki mine, Zimbabwe also has other platinum mines operated by Johannesburg-based Impala Platinum.

The state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development has several platinum joint-venture operations in the country, including the upcoming Todal and Global Platinum.

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