HARARE – Zimbabwe’s third quarter platinum production was up 4% to 121 000 ounces from 116 000 ounces recorded a year earlier in the same period. World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) latest data showed that the production figures were backed by improved mill performance despite the coronavirus pandemic.
The Southern African nation, is home to the world’s second biggest known deposits of platinum after South Africa, has three platinum-producing mines – Zimplats, Mimosa and Unki who are majority owned by South African companies.
In its quarterly global production report, WPIC said, global refined production fell 2% year-on-year to 1,493 koz in Q3 2020 as declines in South Africa and North America offset growth from Russia, Zimbabwe and other regions.
South African refined output declined 6% year-on-year to 1,056 koz. Russian production rose 15% year-on-year to 200 koz as new refining capacities at Kola were completed. In North America, production for the quarter fell 10% year-on-year to 70 koz.
WPIC noted that Zimbabwe’s Q3 2020 output was 4% higher than Q2 2020.
“Zimbabwean output was not disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and rose 4% year-on-year in the quarter, with improved mill performance at two operations offsetting reduced smelter throughput,” it said.
Global refined platinum production is forecast to fall 22% year-on-year to 4,777 koz on losses from South Africa. In 2020, Zimbabwe platinum output is poised to rise by 4% to 472 koz from 455 Koz in 2019.
“Zimbabwean production is predicted to increase by 4% (+17 koz) as losses due to Covid-19 mine shut-downs are offset by operations being able to refine accumulated in-process inventory,” WPIC stated.
In 2021 total supply is projected to increase by 17% year-on-year to 7,865 koz, recovering to 95% of the pre-pandemic level. However, the southern African nation’s output will decline to 463 koz.
“Output from Zimbabwe is expected to be 2% (-9 koz) down as one mine complex, placed on care and maintenance due to COVID-19, returns to full production and output from a new mine development mostly offsets declines at two mines nearing their end-of-life.”
Zimbabwe’s platinum output growth has been averaging 2.3% (387 koz) in the last seven years, with only 2016 recording the highest output at 490 koz.
The country has set an ambitious target of attaining US$12 billion by 2023 in potential revenue from the mining industry. Platinum is poised to contribute about US$3 billion. But, the country’s mining industry has projected that power requirements will more than double in the next two years in line with the country’s ambitious plan.-Financial Express.