Platinum Group Metals (PGM) producer Mimosa Mining Company has invested US $40million into capital projects with the aim of expanding mine life and production capacity.
Mimosa’s parent company, Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats) in an update for the half year period to December 2021, said its Zimbabwean unit also accelerated plant optimisation operations through the North Hill project which will extend life-of-mine by about nine years.
“Capital expenditure increased by 25% to US$40 million from US$32 million during the previous quarter as spending on the plant optimisation project accelerated and studies on the North Hill life-of-mine extensions were completed. Feasibility study was completed and discussions regarding fiscal accommodations were progressing with the Zimbabwean Government. The plant optimisation project is aimed at increasing capacity and improving process recoveries, but due to Covid-19-related delays, the project commissioning is scheduled for December 2022,” said Implats.
In July 2001, Implats completed acquisition of a 35% stake in Mauritius-based ZCE Platinum Limited, which held a 100% interest in Mimosa Mining Company (Pvt) Limited for a consideration of US$30 million. Investment by Implats, following its acquisition of stake in Mimosa was used to fund an expansion of the mine from 15 000 ounces to approximately 70 000 ounces of platinum per annum.
Mimosa Mine operates on the southern portion of the Zimbabwean Great Dyke and is currently one of the lowest cost primary producers in the industry. Implats noted that Mimosa operated well in the period under review, however, the operation was hampered by processing instability due to a change in reagent suppliers necessitated by global supply chain constraints, and further exacerbated by intermittent power interruptions during the period.
As a result, milled volumes declined by one percent to 1,42 million tonnes from the first half of 2021’s 1,43 million tonnes, while milled grade was marginally lower at 3,85g/t compared to 3,89g/t during the first half of 2021.
“Plant instability and poor recoveries due to reagent changes resulted in a 6 percent retracement in 6E concentrate volumes to 124 300 ounces. 6E sales volumes declined by a more pronounced 28% to 116 500 ounces from 161 900 ounces, as volumes in the previous comparable period benefited from the deferred delivery of concentrate inventory accumulated during the IRS force majeure in FY2020,” the company said.
During the period under review, cash costs at Mimosa increased by 2% to US$107 million from the first half of 2021′ US$106 million with inflationary pressures partially offset by lower transport and selling expenses.
Unit costs per tonne milled rose by three percent to US$76 per tonne from H1 FY2021: US$74 per tonne, while unit costs per 6E ounce of US$863 were skewed by poor concentrator recoveries and increased by 8%.
“The stronger rand resulted in a 5% improvement in reported unit costs per tonne milled of R1 138 and unchanged unit costs of R12 969 per 6E ounce,” Implats said.
Overall group tonnes milled from managed operations declined by four percent to 11,30 million tonnes from the first half of 2021’s 11,79 million tonnes, with lower reported volumes at Impala Rustenburg and Impala Canada offsetting improved throughput at Marula and Zimplats.