Platinum giant Zimplats total operating cash costs increased by 13% from the prior quarter, due primarily to higher production volumes, inflationary pressures, and a 42% increase in the power tariff.
According to the company’s quarterly report for the year ended 31 December 2022, a total of US$4.5 million was transferred from operating costs as milled throughput exceeded mined volumes and some concentrate inventory accumulated during the prior quarter.
“This resulted in the gross cost of metal produced increasing by 21% compared to the prior quarter. 6E unit costs increased by 5% to US$839/oz from US$801/oz in the prior quarter and were 15% higher year-on-year.
” US$1.4 million was spent on exploration projects, with a further US$4.7 million committed as at 31 December 2022. Exploration activities included mineral resource evaluation, comprising approximately 7 968 metres of surface diamond drilling on mining lease ML 36,” reads the report.
According to the report, cumulative project expenditure at the end of the quarter amounted to US$97.1 million, with US$5.8 million committed against a project budget of US$104.1 million.
“Development of Mupani Mine and the upgrade of Bimha Mine (to replace Rukodzi which was depleted in FY2022, Ngwarati, and Mupfuti mines, which will be depleted in FY2025 and FY2028 respectively), progressed well during the quarter.
“A total of US$274.6 million has been spent on the project to date. US$71.9 million has been committed against a project budget of US$468 million.
“The Ngezi third concentrator plant, which will increase milling capacity by 0.9 million tonnes per year (equivalent to circa 80 000 6E ounces) was commissioned in September 2022.
“Cumulative project expenditure as at the end of the quarter amounted to US$97.1 million, with US$5.8 million committed against a project budget of US$104.1 million. The plant ramped up production to nameplate capacity during the quarter.
“Implementation of the US$521 million smelter expansion and the SO2 abatement plant project remains on track, with US$49.8 million spent and US$242.9 million committed at quarter end.
“Execution of the 35MW solar plant project which is Phase 1 of Zimplats’ 185 MW solar project progressed during the quarter with a total of US$0.8 million spent and US$ 0.4 million committed against a budget of US$37 million.
“The engineering, procurement and construction contract was awarded during the quarter. The solar plant is being constructed at Selous Metallurgical Complex and is targeted for completion in FY2024.
“Overall, the project has four implementation phases with the last phase scheduled for completion in FY2027 at a total estimated project cost of US$201 million,” reads part of the report.