Implats to lift platinum group production to 2.3 million ounces by 2010

Implats to lift platinum group production to 2.3 million ounces by 2010

Impala Platinum (Implats) and Aquarius Platinum’s expansion of output at its Mimosa Platinum mine in Zimbabwe is one of many steps in a broader strategy to increase Implats’ production of platinum group metals (PGMs) to 2.3 million ounces in 2010.

The owners of Mimosa announced today they would increase production here to 195,000 platinum group metals ounces or 100,000 platinum ounces, by increasing its concentrator capacity from 150,000 to 175,000 tonnes milled per month.

The capital cost of the expansion is forecast around $23.2 million and will be funded from retained cash flows.

Bob Gilmour, a spokesperson for Implats, said the company’s next phase of expansion involved the production of 2.8 million ounces by 2015. Implats produced a total of 1.85 million ounces in 2006.

The expansion at Mimosa in Zimbabwe was a small one and would take the plant to the limit of its current infrastructure capability, said Gilmour.

He said there was potential for further expansion at the Mimosa mine, but this would take approximately three years and the conducting of a feasibility study.

Gilmour said Implats saw the market for platinum growing very strongly over the next few years due to increased demand for diesel vehicles in the automotive market.

He estimated that demand would grow by 4 to 5% this year (2007), maintaining stronger prices.

”I think we have reached a new paradigm in the market, whereby prices are no longer around the levels of US$350 but rather around US$1 000.

He added that Implats’ mining operations in Zimbabwe were going well, as the government appreciated the fact that the companies were creating jobs in the country.
Implats were not experiencing any problems, but was quite comfortable at its two world-class operations in Zimbabwe.

The expansion project at Mimosa Platinum mine, known as Wedza Phase V, follows four earlier successful expansion projects at the plant. Construction will be completed in June this year and full production will start by July.

Implats is the world’s second largest platinum producer.

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