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Great Dyke in Zimbabwe

Zimplats

Zimplats is 87% owned by Implats. Its Ngezi operation is located on the Hartley Geological Complex on the Zimbabwean Great Dyke approximately 150 kilometres south-west of Harare. The Hartley Geological complex is the largest of the PGM bearing complex’s containing 80% of the known PGM resources in Zimbabwe, two-thirds of which is held by Zimplats.In FY2014 the operation produced 239 700 ounces of platinum in matte.

Zimplats currently operates four shallow mechanised underground mines and two concentrators at Ngezi. The Selous Metallurgical Complex (SMC), located some 77 kilometres north of the mine, comprises a concentrator and a smelter.

 

Business summary

  • Four shallow mechanised underground mines
  • Concentrator and smelter plants at Selous Metallurgical Complex (SMC)
  • Concentrator plant at Ngezi
  • Reserves: 10.8 million attributable ounces of platinum
  • Resources (including reserves) 95.5 million attributable ounces of platinum
  • Production: 198 100 ounces of platinum in matte
  • Employees and contractors: 5 704
 

Operational review 2014

 

The Great Dyke is a layered complex similar to that of the Bushveld Complex. It extends for 550 kilometres and has a maximum width of 11 kilometres. Within the Great Dyke four geological complexes are known to contain PGM and base metal deposits. These are the WedzaComplex  (Mimosa – Aquarius and Implats), the Selukwe Complex (Unki – Anglo Platinum), the Hartley Geological Complex (Hartley and Ngezi Platinum Mines – Zimplats) and the Musengezi Complex.

The stratigraphy is broadly divided between a lower ultramafic and an overlying mafic sequence. The ultramafic sequence hosts the P1 pyroxenite, which in turn hosts the economic PGM-bearing Main Sulphide Zone (MSZ). The MSZ is generally 2 to 3 metres thick. Optimal mineralisation varies and, in contrast to the Bushveld Complex, is often difficult to follow visually. Peak values for the PGM and base metals are vertically offset, with palladium peaking at the base, platinum in the centre and nickel towards the top.

MINERAL RESOURCES AND MINERAL RESERVES

Mimosa Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserve Statement 2014
View online 

 

Zimplats holds a special mining lease covering two areas totalling 48 535 hectares.  This special mining lease expires in 2019 and the mining agreement in relation to the special mining lease allows for two extensions of 10 years each.

Zimplats commenced opencast mining at Ngezi in December 2001. The opencast operation was suspended in 2008 and all mining is currently conducted in underground sections. Mining commences at a depth of 50 metres below surface and currently extends to a depth of approximately 240 metres.  Mining infrastructure consists of decline accesses via surface portals.  The mine employs mechanised bord and pillar mining with stoping widths of an average of 2.5 metres at dips of less than 9 degrees. Each production team comprises a single boom face rig, a bolter, a 10 tonne load haul dump (LHD) and a 30 tonne dump truck, and mines 20 panels, each 7 meters wide.

A low angle shear in the deeper sections of the Bimha mine, a 90 000 ounce platinum in matte producer, have impacted ground conditions over a large area.  The accelerated deterioration in conditions resulted in the temporary closure of the mine in July 2014.  An investigation is underway to better understand the impact of the Mutambara Shear and once completed a new set of mitigation measures will be communicated and implemented.  Six of the eight mining teams from the Bimha mine have been redeployed across the other three portals at Ngezi thus mitigating production losses to 30 000 ounces of platinum in matte in FY2015.

 

The Phase 2 expansion project nears completion and the Mupfuti mine will reach design production in March 2015. Zimplats committed to a first stage refurbishment of the existing Selous-based base metals refinery (BMR).  The total project cost is estimated at approximately US$100 million, and project implementation was initiated in July 2014 with an estimated 24 month completion period.

 

The concentrators at Ngezi were commissioned in July 2009 and April 2013 respectively. Around one third of the mine output is also transported by road trains to the concentrator at SMC. Concentrate from both Ngezi plants and SMC is then smelted in an arc furnace and converted to matte which is despatched to Impala’s refinery in Springs (after blending in Rustenburg) in terms of a life-of-mine agreement with Impala Refining Services (IRS).

 

Zimplats remains committed to social development initiatives and engages in, develops and builds community relationships. It takes responsibility for economic, social and environmental issues that impact its people, communities and environments and is involved in a number of community projects in the area.

 

The Government of Zimbabwe has been pursuing greater participation in the mining sector by indigenous Zimbabweans.  The company continues to engage with the government with respect to agreeing plans in this regard.

 

In 1986 Delta Gold Limited (Delta) acquired rights to its firstplatinum resources on the Great Dyke. By 1998 it had extended its cover to include interests in all the platinum resources of the Hartley Complex. Delta brought BHP into a joint venture(2/3 BHP and 1/3 Delta) to develop Hartley Platinum Mineand development started in 1994. In 1998, Delta demerged its platinum interests into a special purpose vehicle; Zimplats.By 1999 Hartley had failed to meet its development targets and was put on care and maintenance by BHP. Zimplats subsequently took over BHP’s share of Hartley and in 2001 it initiated the Ngezi/SMC project with the assistance of an Implats and ABSA Investment.

A 2.2 million tonne per year open pit mine was established at Ngezi and ore was trucked to Selous where it was processed in the Hartley Mine concentrator and smelting facilities, the SMC. The first converter matte wasexported in April 2002. Implats progressively increased its shareholding in Zimplats until 2003 when it made an unconditional cash offer to minority shareholders in Zimplats.

Implats currently holds 87% of Zimplats. Zimplats started todevelop underground operations at Ngezi in 2003. Thesere placed the open pit production in 2008 and have been expanded to the current 6.2 million tonne per year operation with four portals and two new concentrator modules at Ngezi.

 

Production     2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
  Tonnes milled ex mine   ('000t)  5 939   4 683   4 393   4 223   4 095  
  Headgrade (6E)  (g/t)  3.47   3.53   3.53   3.56   3.56  
  Platinum in matte    ('000oz)  197.6   157.1   149.2   148.1   140.2  
  PGM in matte   ('000oz)  515.8   416.2   396.4   388.8   368.9  
               
Labour efficiency     2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
  Tonnes milled per employee costed** (t/man/annum)  1 339   1159   1128   1166   1317  
               
Cost     2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
Mining cost of sales   (Rm)  (3 934)  (2 708)  (2 076)  (1 779)  (1 626) 
  Mining operations   (Rm)  (1 942)  (1 434)  (1 089)  (870)  (806) 
  Processing operations   (Rm)  (1 047)  (627)  (494)  (446)  (373) 
  Other   (Rm)  (945)  (647)  (493)  (463)  (447) 
               
Total cost   (Rm)  3 208   2 283   1 795   1 499   1 324  
    ($m)  309   259   232   213   175  
               
Unit costs              
  per tonne milled   (R/t)  540   487   409   355   323  
    (US$/t)  52   55   53   50   43  
  per platinum ounce in matte   (R/oz)  13 383   11 524   9 594   8 232   7 614  
    (US$/oz)  1 291   1 307   1 239   1 171   1 008  
               
Financial ratios     2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
  Gross margin ex mine   (%)  34.1   34.9   43.4   52.0   46.7  
               
Capital expenditure     2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
    (Rm)  1 225   1 449   2 137   840   698  
    (US$m)  118   164   276   119   92  
               
Safety     2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
  LTIFR     (pmmhwǂ 0.41   0.70   0.21   0.75   0.69  
  FIFR      (pmmhwǂ 0.068   0.000   0.000   0.000   0.000  
               
Labour complement     2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
  Own employees   (no)  3 325   2 929   2 791   2 757   2 418  
  Contractors   (no)  2 749   2 775   6 412   2 610   1 262  
               
  **Total employees excluding capital project employees           
  ǂPer million man hours worked