Zimplats Developing $264M Mupani Mine

The boards of directors of Impala Platinum Holdings and Zimplats have approved development of the $264 million Mupani mine in Zimbabwe. Zimplats is 87% owned by Impala, and its operations are situated on Zimbabwe’s Great Dyke southwest of Harare, the nation’s capital. The company operates four underground mines and a concentrator at Ngezi. Its Selous metallurgical complex, 77 kilometers (km) north of the underground operations, includes a concentrator and a smelter.

The Mupani underground mining complex will replace production from the Rukodzi and Ngwarati mines after they have been mined out and closed. Early project work, including mining the box cut and constructing the main access road, project offices, and other essential project infrastructure, started in June. The box cut was scheduled for completion in November, and preparations to start developing the main underground access are in progress.

Zimplats anticipates it will take 37 months to develop the underground infrastructure required to access the first planned reef panels, which will allow the first mining teams to be deployed from early 2021. Design capacity of 2.2 million mt/y is targeted for 2025, when a full complement of 10 mining teams (nine production teams and one development team) will be deployed.

The new mine will have a life expectancy of 34 years extracting only relatively flat ore reserves (0 to minus 9°). The project will increase Zimplats’ mineral reserves by 3 million platinum oz to 9 million platinum oz.

The Mupani mine will employ approximately 1,000 people at full production, as well as a substantial number of contractors during development, construction, and commissioning of the project. The mine design builds on the modern, low-cost, mechanized room-and-pillar mining method that is employed at Zimplats’ current mining operations. Once commissioned, Mupani ore will be beneficiated at the existing Ngezi/ Selous processing facilities and smelted in the 12.5-megawatt (MW) Zimplats furnace, which was recently equipped with modern remote-controlled hydraulic mud guns for safe furnace tapping and upgraded furnace automation for online condition monitoring and safe process control. Zimplats produced 290,400 oz of platinum in its fiscal year to June 30, 269,500 oz in converter matte and 20,900 oz in concentrate sold.

As featured in Womp 2017 Vol 01 - www.womp-int.com