New Zimbabwe (London)

18 July 2014

Zimbabwe: Mine Collapse Cuts Zimplats Output By Half

PLATINUM production at Zimplats' largest mine in Zimbabwe has been halved following a major collapse underground, the company said on Friday.

Zimplats said there were no reports of injuries or damage to mobile equipment after the incident at the Bimha mine, located 150 miles southeast of the capital Harare and the biggest of four Zimplats-owned platinum mines.

In a statement, the Zimbabwe stock exchange listed company blamed the collapse to deterioration of ground conditions along a fault first identified in 2011.

"As a result production from the Bimha Mine has been downscaled by 50 percent equating to 45,000 ounces of platinum in matte production," Zimplats said in a statement.

Zimplats is a key source of revenue for Implats - a South Africa based company listed on the Johannesburg stock exchange - which recently lost 2,800 ounces of production daily during a 19 week strike earlier this year at its Rustenburg operations in South Africa.

"A team of company experts supported by internationally renowned senior experts have been engaged to make recommendation on the appropriate remedial action to return the mine to full production," the statement read.

Zimbabwe has the world's second-largest known platinum reserves after South Africa.

Implats and fellow South African group Anglo American Platinum typically ship what they mine in the country to South Africa for refining.

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