Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE's largest platinum producer, Zimplats board of directors has approved a new investment strategy that will see the company investing about US$1,8 billion in capital projects over a 10 year period.
Alex Mhembere, Zimplats chief executive said, in a major capital expenditure projects update, the rollout of the investment strategy began in 2021, with US$1,2 billion already approved for implementation.
"These projects, including those that are currently in process of being approved, will concentrate on maintaining current production levels through mine replacements and upgrades at a cost of US$516 million," he said.
Mr Mhembere added that the strategy was also targeted at expanding production, including by developing a new mine and increasing processing capacity, which will boost nameplate capacity from 6,7 million tonnes per annum to 8,8 million tonnes per annum.
The growth plan will also entail expanding ... in-country processing capacity to 380 000 tonnes of concentrate per year, and the establishment of an abatement facility to mitigate sulphuric dioxide emissions emanating from the current and expanded smelting capacity at a cost of US$969 million," he said.
Further, Mr Mhembere said the capital investment will also include refurbishing the mothballed base metal refinery, to further beneficiate converter matte, for US$100 million and investing in a 185 megawatt solar plant to augment power supplies and enhance ESG (environmental, social and governance) performance metrics to maintain Zimplats licence to operate at a budget of US$201 million.
"These projects are expected to be funded by internally generated resources," he noted.
The platinum mining giant said the planned new mine development projects were the Mupani, a third concentrator plant, Bimha Mine upgrade, a sulphuric acid plant, expanded smelter, PGM base metal refinery (BMR) plant, Hartley mine development and a housing project.
The Zimplats projects resonate well with the Government's quest for the mining sector to grow to a US$12 billion industry by 2023 as well as the Vision 2030, which seeks to transform Zimbabwe to an upper middle income economy by 2030.
In terms of the US$12 billion mining industry target, gold ,platinum and diamonds will contribute US$4 billion, US$3 billion and US$1 billion, respectively.
Chrome, iron ore and carbon steel will contribute US$$1 billion while coal and hydrocarbons will contribute the same. Lithium at US$500 000 while other minerals will constitute US$1.5 billion.