Zimplats, Implats‘ Zimbabwe-based subsidiary, announced plans on Thursday to invest a total of US$1.8 billion over the next seven years towards mine development, including upgrading the Mupani mine. The investment will also see the construction of a base metal refinery.
The Mupani mine will get the majority of the money, totaling US$386.2 million, while the base metal refinery (BMR) plant would cost US$200 million.
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The BMR plant project, according to Zimplats, will have the capacity for local PGM base metal refining and will produce 100 direct employment and at least 1 000 indirect jobs.
A 110 MW, solar power facility will be built at the cost of US$201 million, according to the miner.
A new smelter will cost US$280 million, while the Hartley mine would cost US$289 million to build.
Mupani Mine upgrading project
Zimplats’ chief executive Alex Mhembere claimed the Mupani Mine upgrading project as a substitute for the diminishing Rukodzi, Ngwarati, and Mupfuti mines after signing a Memorandum of Agreement with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
The smelter expansion and sulfur dioxide abatement facility will potentially manufacture 100-kilo tonnes of sulphuric acid per year, which will be utilized to replace existing acid imports in the local manufacturing of phosphate fertilizers.
This will result in the creation of 47 direct permanent employment at Zimplats, with the potential for further jobs to be created further down the value chain. This will also result in a $50 million decrease in fertilizer imports and a boost to other businesses such as water purification, battery manufacture, and chemical manufacturing.
Smelting capacity will be doubled from 132 to 380 kilotons of smelted concentrators under the enlarged smelter project. According to Mhembere, the initiative will improve the company’s ability to smelt its resources and local third parties.
This will result in the establishment of 40 permanent jobs and a reduction in the cost of transporting bulk concentrates over the border and allowing future mines to cut their capital requirements.
185 MW Zimplat solar photovoltaic facility
The platinum giant will also design, finance, build, own, and manage a 185 MW solar photovoltaic facility to ensure power supply security.
In the fiscal year 2023, the PV solar facility is projected to be operational.
President Mnangagwa said Zimplat’s proposal to build a Base Metal Refinery is critical to domestic mineral beneficiation and value addition of the platinum group of metals, speaking at the signing ceremony.
The sulfuric acid factory will provide crucial raw materials for local fertilizer manufacture while also reducing sulphuric acid imports. Zimplats’ acceptance and utilization of smart energy sources, which included the construction of a 110 MW solar power plant, is also notable.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa stated that Zimplats’ investments demonstrate global capital’s rising trust in Zimbabwe.