Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
Unki Mine’s $62 million platinum smelting plant is now complete and will be commissioned by President Mnangagwa tomorrow.
Construction of the processing plant commenced in 2016 as the company heeded Government’s call for value addition and beneficiation of the country’s natural resources.
Unki Mine General Manager Mr Walter Nemasasi confirmed the commissioning of the processing plant tomorrow but could not be drawn to give details saying they were busy preparing for the event.
“Yes it is true that our $62 million smelting plant will be commissioned on Thursday by the President and we have already sent invitations to the media for the coverage of the event.
“However, I am not able to give you further details regarding the commissioning of the smelter as we are busy preparing for the event,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday.
The smelting plant, which will consume more than 11 megawatts, would see Unki processing about 623 000 tonnes of platinum concentrate annually.
Following Government’s call for platinum producers to promote beneficiation, platinum miners, Unki, Mimosa Mining Company in Zvishavane and Zimplats in Mhondoro-Ngezi agreed to set up platinum refineries at their respective mining sites while at the sametime pooling resources together to construct a bigger processing plant at Zimplants.
The agreement to construct the bigger plant expected to cost about $300 million, was signed between Government and the three platinum mining companies in May 2017.
Commissioning of the Unki platinum smelter is expected to go a long way in transforming the Zimbabwe mining industry in line with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, which compels companies to beneficiate their minerals through investing in ore processing plants.
Site refinery plants for Zimplats and Mimosa are at different stages of construction.
Platinum processing although requiring a lot of resources and capital, will enable Zimbabwe to realise more from its platinum resources.