Zimbabwe's largest platinum miner, Zimplats Ltd recorded a 76 percent growth in operating profit for the quarter ended March 2014 compared to a three months period ended December last year due to improved metal prices on the global market.Operating income increased to $36 million recorded in the quarter from $20 million in three months to December 2013, and was 45 percent down the quarter ended 2013, the Australian Stock Exchange listed company said in a statement yesterday.
Revenue increased 9 percent to $137 million from the quarter ended December 2013, but 19 percent down from the same quarter last year. Impala Platinum Mines Ltd, the world second largest producer of the metal owns 87 percent stake in Zimplats. Platinum prices rose 2 percent in the quarter to $1 400 from the quarter to December 2013.
"The profit and revenue increase has been due to an improvement in metal prices on the market," said Zimplats.
Tonnes mined increased by 1 percent to 1,4 million tonnes from the previous quarter mainly due to production ramp up at Mupfuti Mine.
Long term stabilisation of the areas affected by Mutambara Shear progressed well in the quarter with the full rehabilitation of the area expected to be completed by the end of the financial year.
Tonnes milled and metal in concentrate were below previous quarter's performance due to ore shortage arising from the mismatch between mining and milling at a time when the business was operating with minimal run of mine stocks.
Concentrates stockpiled in the previous quarter following the furnace tap block blow out incident in December 2013 were smelted in the quarter resulting in metal in converter matte produced being 4 percent above previous quarter despite the throughput from the mills being 3 percent lower. Metal recovery rate (4E) at 81,8 percent was marginally higher than the previous quarter 's rate of 81,7 percent.
The company's local spend (excluding payments to government and related institutions) decreased by 16 percent to $51 million due to reduced work on the Phase 2 expansion.
Total payments to government in direct and indirect taxes decreased by 29 percent to $20 million from $29 million recorded in the previous quarter mainly as a result of the full settlement of prior year's tax liabilities in the previous quarter.
Zimplats said its appeals against the tax penalties and the review of the interest on prior years' tax liabilities was still pending in the courts. The company is currently engaged in discussions with the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment with regard to the company's indigenisation implementation plan.