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Great Dyke in Zimbabwe

Zimplats

Zimplats Holdings Limited (Zimplats) is 87% owned by Implats and its Ngezi operation is located on the Hartley Geological Complex on the Zimbabwean Great Dyke approximately 150 kilometres south-west of Harare. In FY2012 the operation produced 187,100 ounces of platinum in matte.

Zimplats currently operates three underground mines and a concentrator at Ngezi. The Selous Metallurgical Complex (SMC), located some 77 km north of the mine, comprises a concentrator and a smelter. The company also owns the Hartley Platinum Mine situated at the SMC which is currently under care and maintenance.

 

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 2013

 

HISTORY

Zimplats was established by Delta Gold Limited (Delta) in 1998 to take over its platinum interests.  In May 1999 the company purchased BHP’s interests in the Hartley Platinum and the Mhondoro Platinum Joint Ventures which included a concentrator and smelter.  Zimplats initiated the Ngezi/SMC project in 2001 and the first converter matte was exported in April 2002.

In 2001 Implats acquired a 30% stake in Zimplats from Delta in a joint venture with ABSA Bank Limited of South Africa (ABSA).  Implats held pre-emptive rights over ABSA’s 15% stake as well as a 30% direct stake in the then Makwiro Platinum (Pvt) Limited.  The remaining 70% was held by Zimplats.  In August 2002, the group acquired a further 21% stake in Zimplats from Aurion Gold and in June 2003 purchased ABSA’s 15% stake.  Implats subsequently made an unconditional cash offer to mino rity shareholders in Zimplats.

Currently the group holds 87% as a result of the buyout of minority holders and the receipt of 14.9 million newly issued ordinary Zimplats shares on the sale of its 30% stake in Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Pvt) Limited (formerly Makwiro Platinum (Pvt) Limited) to Zimplats.

GEOLOGY

Although platinum was first discovered in the Great Dyke in 1918, its exploration was overshadowed by that of the Bushveld Complex in South Africa.  Focus returned to the Great Dyke following the increase in demand for PGMs given that much of the shallow resources in the Bushveld Complex have been depleted.

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 Wedza Complex (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 Hartley Geological Complex is the largest of the PGM bearing complexes containing 80% of the known PGM resources in Zimbabwe, two thirds of which is held by Zimplats.

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 palladuim peaking at the base, platinum in the centre and nickel towards the top.

 

Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve Statement 2013
View online 


MINING

Zimplats commenced production at the Ngezi opencast mine in December 2001. This was suspended in December 2008 and all mining is currently conducted underground.

The orebody is shallow and mining commences at a depth of 50 metres below the surface and currently extends to a depth of approximately 240 metres. The mine employs mechanised bord and pillar mining with stoping widths of an average of 2.5 metres.

The $ 460 million phase 2 expansion involving the development of a new 2 million tonne underground mine, an additionally sized concentrator and associated module and other infrastructure was initiated in 2010. At nameplate capacity expected in FY2015 refined platinum production will increase to 270,000 ounces.

METALLURGY

The new concentrator at Ngezi was commissioned in July 2009 and reached full production capacity of 2 million tonnes per annum in October 2009. Around 6,000 tonnes of ore per day is also transported by road trains to SMC.  Concentrate from both plants is then smelted in an arc furnace and converted to matte which is despatched to Impala's refinery in terms of a life-of-mine agreement with Impala Refining Services (IRS).   

INDIGENISATION

Zimbabwe's amended indigenisation and econmic empowerment regulations require foreign companies to meet a minimum indigenisation quota of 51%. The proposed plan submitted in March 2012 was found to be acceptable and in compliance with the law. The proposal made to the Govenment of Zimbabwe includes a Community Trust (10%) and an Employee Trust (10%). Fair value compensation in lieu of empowerment credits for the ground released under the agreements of 24 May 2006 are being expored. On receipt of this compensation, Zimplats will make a 31% fully contributory stake in Zimplats available for sale at an independently determined fair value. Zimplats remains in talks with the Goverment of Zimbabwe in this regard.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

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. 

Zimplats – key statistics

    2013   2012   2011   2010   2009  
Safety leading indicators              
Hazards for which internal STOP Notes have been issued   (no)  8   353   1 140   –   –  
Stoppage/instructions issued by State or DMR   (no)  1   15   –   –   –  
Leadership STOP Observations   (no)  22 027   18 942   –   –   –  
Safety representative training   (no)  74   183   30   –   –  
Safety lagging indicators              
Fatal injury frequency rate   (pmmhw)  0.000   0.000   0.000   0.000   0.000  
Lost-time injury frequency rate   (pmmhw)  0.70   0.21   0.75   0.69   0.45  
Total injury frequency rate   (pmmhw)  2.20   2.22   3.39   3.61   5.49  
Lost days rate   (pmmhw)  28   11   28   20   29  
Health              
Noise-induced hearing loss cases submitted   (no)  2   –   –   –   –  
On wellness programme   (no)  135   129   106   68   78  
On antiretroviral therapy   (no)  120   114   92   63   51  
Environmental              
Total water consumed   (Mℓ)  7 852   6 003   5 528   6 172   3 793  
Total water recycled   (%)  26   27   28   23   29  
CO2 emissions   (t)  410 356   427 713   416 598   397 658   250 121  
SO2 emitted   (t)  12 017   13 470   12 100   12 449   6 474  
People              
Own employees   (no)  2 929   2 791   2 757   2 418   2 136  
Contractors   (no)  2 775   6 412   2 610   1 262   3 323  
Literacy (ABET level (III))  (%)  99   99   99   99   99  
Labour turnover   (%)  4   4   4   5   11  
Social              
Community spend   (Rm)  37   41   9   2   7  
Sales   (Rm)  4 159   3 665   3 709   3 052   1 099  
Platinum     2 321   2 026   2 004   1 767   749  
Palladium     854   674   692   405   118  
Rhodium     133   145   211   252   (18) 
Nickel     411   410   465   366   135  
Other     440   410   337   262   115  
Cost of sales   (Rm)  (2 708)  (2 076)  (1 779)  (1 626)  (1 216) 
On-mine operations     (1 434)  (1 089)  (870)  (806)  (795) 
Processing operations     (627)  (494)  (446)  (373)  (224) 
Selling and administration     (222)  (212)  (183)  (145)  (108) 
Share-based payments     4   17   (20)     
Depreciation     (433)  (329)  (239)  (184)  (210) 
Change in metal inventories     4   31   (21)  (118)  121  
Gross profit/(loss)  (Rm)  1 451   1 589   1 930   1 426   (117) 
Intercompany adjustment*   (Rm)  (33)  43   (81)  (412)  406  
Adjusted gross profit   (Rm)  1 418   1 632   1 849   1 014   289  
Royalty expense   (Rm)  (303)  (262)  (113)  (69)  (20) 
Gross margin   (%)  34.9   43.4   52.0   46.7   (10.6) 
Sales volumes in matte              
Platinum   (000oz)  195.4   187.2   182.2   171.5   96.0  
Palladium   (000oz)  156.2   150.5   148.9   139.8   75.8  
Rhodium   (000oz)  17.8   16.7   16.3   15.1   8.2  
Nickel   (t)  3 908   3 769   3 481   3 131   1 613  
Prices achieved in matte              
Platinum   (US$/oz)  1 347   1 398   1 564   1 364   852  
Palladium   (US$/oz)  620   578   661   384   171  
Rhodium   (US$/oz)  849   1 124   1 841   2 204   (241) 
Nickel   (US$/t)  11 919   14 041   18 997   15 466   9 195  
Exchange rate achieved   (R/US$)  8.82   7.74   7.03   7.56   9.08  
Adjustment note: The adjustment relates to sales from Zimplats to the Implats Group which at year-end were still in the pipeline.

  
Production              
Tonnes milled ex mine   (000t)  4 683   4 393   4 223   4 095   2 167  
Headgrade (6E)  (g/t)  3.53   3.53   3.56   3.56   3.52  
Platinum in matte   (000oz)  198.1   187.1   182.1   173.9   96.0  
Palladium in matte   (000oz)  157.1   149.2   148.1   140.2   75.6  
Rhodium in matte   (000oz)  17.0   16.9   16.8   15.5   8.4  
Nickel in matte   (t)  3 909   3 787   3 519   3 105   1 608  
PGM in matte   (000oz)  416.2   396.4   388.8   368.9   201.7  
Cost              
Total cost   (Rm)  2 283   1 795   1 499   1 324   1 127  
  (US$m)  259   232   213   175   124  
Cost per tonne milled   (R/t)  487   409   355   323   520  
  (US$/t)  55   53   50   43   57  
Cost per PGM ounce in matte   (R/oz)  5 485   4 528   3 855   3 589   5 588  
  (US$/t)  622   585   548   475   615  
Cost per platinum ounce in matte   (R/oz)  11 524   9 594   8 232   7 614   11 740  
  (US$/t)  1 307   1 239   1 171   1 008   1 292  
Cost net of revenue received for other metals   (R/oz)  2 246   834   (1 131)  224   8 094  
  (US$/t)  255   108   (161)  30   891  
Capital expenditure   (Rm)  1 449   2 137   840   698   1 358  
  (US$m)  164   276   119   92   150  
Labour efficiency              
Tonnes milled per employee costed**   (t/man/annum)  1 159   1 128   1 166   1 317   901  
**Total employees excluding capital project employees.