Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
BUSINESS-minded people should not blame inflation or economic challenges for the demise of their businesses but should rather use the resources at their disposal to beat inflation and grow their business.
Addressing academics and members of the corporate world during the Midlands Agricultural Show breakfast meeting in Gweru last Friday, guest of honour and Unki Mine general manager Mr Walter Nemasase said even Government parastatals should stop blaming inflation for running losses.
“In the country you can try to blame inflation but if you use the available resources at your disposal you will make it.
“As a businessman, as a manager or entrepreneur it is not acceptable to put a plan and say I will make a loss (because of inflation or some challenges) and still expect to pay salaries or receive a salary.
“The reality is that you must make your budget work and not present a negative budget,” he said.
Mr Nemasase said in 2014 the price of platinum went down drastically, a development that could have led to the collapse of Unki Mine.
“So we went to our boss to show him our budget and it was a loss making budget. Our boss, before we left, asked us to write resignation letters saying it was not acceptable for us to put a loss making plan.
“I know it is a strange language to a lot of bosses in the parastatals in this country, but they must make it work and if they can’t they must leave. Put everything it takes to make it work, if you can’t please leave,” he said.
Mr Nemasase said the destination of Unki Mine was put in the hands of the employees themselves.
“The bigger the organisation, the smaller of an entity it becomes. Unki Mine is less than one percent of Anglo American. For Zimbabwe, we are a big investment but to Anglo American they can close us if we make losses and that won’t affect the parent company.
“So it’s continued holding on completely rests with the people who are there managing it and is very possible with parastatals and other private businesses,” he said.
“Unki Mine is a $600 million investment to date and its success came after a lot of sacrifices. We started spending money on machines which make the money.
“Others complained why we had containers as offices but we started with machinery which makes money and we did it. What is showing off to the public if we are not protecting concerns of the business?”
Last month, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) said better efficiencies and higher recoveries in the first half of the year resulted in record platinum output at Unki Mine.
In its latest production report for the first half of 2019, Amplats reported total PGM production was 95 800 PGM ounces, up three percent from 92 600oz in the comparable period last year.
While costs are rising for business, Unki Mine has managed to restrain its own costs.
The all-in sustaining costs — a measure used by mines that includes operating costs, all sustaining capital expenditure, net of all revenue — was $456 per platinum ounce sold compared to $491 over the same period last year.