ANGLO American plc has invested US$350 million in its Zimbabwean unit, Unki Platinum Mines and will spend a further US$100 million next year as it consolidates operations.
"The first phase of this development consists of a mine, concentrator and housing at a total cost of US$450 million," Unki Mine chief operating officer Mr Colin Chibafa said.
"The mine and concentrator, developed at a cost of US$350 million, have been operational since 2011, processing 120 000 tonnes of ore per month. The remaining component of the project relates to the construction of approximately 1 000 houses and related infrastructure to cater for employees at a total cost of US$100 million which will be completed during 2014. In the short term, Unki will focus on consolidating its operations and will maintain its current production levels for the immediate future."
Anglo operations in Zimbabwe dates back to the early 1920s. The company's tradition lives on in historic towns such as Bindura, Hwange and Triangle in the Lowveld.
As a result of major corporate restructuring, in line with its global strategy, Anglo American commenced in 1997 with the targeted disposal of its portfolio of assets in the country to mainly indigenous Zimbabweans. These assets included equity stakes Bindura Nickel Corporation, First Merchant Bank, Founders Building Society, Mashonaland Holdings, National Foods and Zimbabwe Alloys among others.
Unki Platinum Mines is the only significant remaining asset in Zimbabwe, Mr Chibafa said.
To stimulate the economic development and eradicate poverty in Shurugwi and surrounding communities, Unki has partnered with the local community in initiating, implementing and financially supporting sustainable projects that focus on poverty alleviation, education and skills development and safety, health and welfare development.
Some of the projects implemented since 2010 include Tongogara Community Share Ownership Trust
"Unki is the only mining company to date that has fulfilled its commitment to the community share ownership trusts by contributing the full US$10 million seed capital to establish the Tongogara Community Share Ownership Trust," said Mr Chibafa.