Anglo American Platinum has opened its US$62 million smelter plant at the Unki mine near Shurugwi in Zimbabwe.
The smelter, construction of which started in 2015, has been described as a strategic investment and is set to help the company meet local beneficiation commitments.
Anglo Platinum owns the Unki mine and on Thursday said that the furnace heat-up at the smelter started operating in early August 2018 and has been ramping up, with the first production of matte at the end of September 2018.
It said the export of crushed matte commenced in mid-November 2018, adding the custom-designed, cost-efficient smelter is sized to meet Unki’s current production and retains the capability for later upgrades to meet future increased mine production.
Unki Mines Pvt Ltd chairman James Maposa said the smelter would increase their processing capacity significantly.
“Unki has heeded the government’s beneficiation call, a key pillar of Zimbabwe’s goal to create value, employment and accelerate industrial development from its mineral resources,” he said.
“Anglo American Platinum acknowledges that we have a responsibility to contribute to the country’s economic and social development, and to ensure that our contribution here addresses key national priorities.”
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said local beneficiation of platinum group metals (PGMs) has a positive socio-economic effect.
“The establishment of this smelting facility will result in a reduction in the amount of PGMs concentrate being exported, the development of key infrastructure, increased foreign currency earnings and employment for our local people,” he said.
The smelter plant will cut Unki’s costs, as government charges a 15 percent export tax on unbeneficiated platinum.
The scope of the facility is the primary smelting of Unki concentrate to produce a furnace matte, which is crushed on site and transported to the Anglo American Platinum converter process facility in Rustenburg, for further processing.
– African News Agency (ANA)