Zimplats to triple platinum reserves with new Zimbabwe mine

Zimplats to triple platinum reserves with new Zimbabwe mine

Zimbabwe’s largest platinum miner Zimplats (ASX:ZIM) will triple its reserves thanks to a new platinum mine in the country.

Zimplats’ holding company Impala Platinum (JSX:IMP) announced the go-ahead for the US$264 million Mupani mine. The new underground mine will replace production from the Rukodzi and Ngwarati mines once they become depleted.

The Mupani mine will increase Zimplats’ platinum reserves from 3 million to 9 million ounces. Construction of the underground access infrastructure, which is over 1,000m deep, is expected to last 37 months with first mining targeted for 2021.

Full production capacity at 2.2 million tonnes per annum will proceed in 2025 and the mine is expected to employ 1,000 and last for 34 years.

Platinum miners in Zimbabwe have been pressured by the government of President Robert Mugabe to process more metal locally, as the African country tries to get more value from its minerals.

In 2015 Zimbabwe suspended a 15% tax on raw platinum exports, ceding to companies’ request to have at least two more years to set up smelters and refineries.