Our business

Great Dyke in Zimbabwe


Zimplats is 87% owned by Implats and its operations are situated on the Zimbabwean Great Dyke south-west of Harare. Zimplats operates four underground mines and a concentrator at Ngezi. The Selous Metallurgical Complex (SMC), located some 77 kilometres north of the underground operations, 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: 3.9 million attributable ounces of platinum
  • Resources (including reserves) 94.2 million attributable ounces of platinum
  • Production: 190 000 ounces of platinum in matte
  • Employees and contractors: 5 819

Operational review 2015


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.


Zimplats Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserve Statement 2015
View online 


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, has impacted ground conditions over a large area.  The accelerated deterioration in conditions resulted in the temporary closure of this mine in July 2014. The affected production teams from this mine were redeployed to the other three underground mines and redevelopment was initiated in December 2014. The ngezi South Open Pit was also reopened during 2015.


The collapse at the Bimba Mine necessitated a revision of the geotechnical and mine design parameters for both the Bimba and Mapfuti mines, the latter being part of the Phase 2 expansion project. The introduction of the new pillar layout at Mapfuti resulted in extensions to the declines which are expected to be completed during 2016 when the Phase 2 expansion project will deliver steady-state capacity of 90 000 ounces of platinum at this mine.

The first stage refurbishment of the existing Selous-based base metals refinery (BMR) to treat Zimplats' smelter material has commenced and a new smelter study has been initiated in conjuction with other platinum producers in Zimbabwe in order to advance local benefication strategies capable of treating all platinum contractors currently produced in the country.


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, an open pit and two new concentrator modules at Ngezi.


Production     2015   2014   2013   2012   2011  
  Tonnes milled ex mine   ('000t)  5 164   5 939   4 683   4 393   4 223  
  Headgrade (6E)  (g/t)  3.47   3.47   3.53   3.53   3.56  
  Platinum in matte    ('000oz)  190.0   197.6   157.1   149.2   148.1  
  PGM in matte   ('000oz)  406.0   515.8   416.2   396.4   388.8  
Labour efficiency              
  Tonnes milled per employee costed** (t/man/annum)  1 076   1 339   1159   1128   1166  
Mining cost of sales   (Rm)  (4 181)  (3 934)  (2 708)  (2 076)  (1 779) 
  Mining operations   (Rm)  (2 196)  (1 942)  (1 434)  (1 089)  (870) 
  Processing operations   (Rm)  (1 107  (1 047)  (627)  (494)  (446) 
  Other   (Rm)  (878)  (945)  (647)  (493)  (463) 
Total cost   (Rm)  3 650   3 208   2 283   1 795   1 499  
    ($m)  320   309   259   232   213  
Unit costs              
  per tonne milled   (R/t)  707   540   487   409   355  
    (US$/t)  62   52   55   53   50  
  per platinum ounce in matte   (R/oz)  19 211   13 383   11 524   9 594   8 232  
    (US$/oz)  1 683   1 291   1 307   1 239   1 171  
Financial ratios              
  Gross margin ex mine   (%)  10.3   34.1   34.9   43.4   52.0  
  Capital expenditure             
    (Rm)  968   1 166   1 381   2 104   839  
    (US$m)  85   112   157   272   119  
  LTIFR     (pmmhwǂ 0.59   0.41   0.70   0.21   0.75  
  FIFR      (pmmhwǂ 0.000   0.068   0.000   0.000   0.000  
Labour complement              
  Own employees   (no)  3 214   3 325   2 929   2 791   2 757  
  Contractors   (no)  2 605   2 749   2 775   6 412   2 610  
  **Total employees excluding capital project employees           
  ǂPer million man hours worked