Mimosa Platinum invests US$200m for Zimbabwe mine expansion, processing

Mimosa Mine: Expansion on hold (pic: Chris Scott)

Mimosa Platinum says it is to invest US$200 million to develop new mining areas, build a new tailings dam and improve processing efficiencies.  

Mimosa, jointly owned by South Africa’s Sibanye-Stillwater and Impala Platinum, produces about 124,000 ounces of platinum yearly at its operations near Zvishavane. But its current mine site, South Hill, will run out in ten years. But the company has platinum group metal (PGM) reserves of 1.8 million ounces at the end of December, and plans to develop a new area, called North Hill.

“We a project that we are working on to develop North Hill so that it comes in as a replacement for South Hill when we finish in about 10 years,” General Manager Steve Ndiyamba said at the mine.

“We are already working on a replacement shaft at North Hill, and that work, which will be plus or minus US$90 million-US$100 million has advanced. We should be starting soon on that project.”

The company is also spending a further US$38 million for the plant optimisation project, which is meant to improve processing efficiencies so that the mine can recover more from mineral ore.

“We should be commissioning by the end of the year, and by early next year we should be running that project,” Ndiyamba said.

A new tailing storage facility – a dam that stores waste from the mine – is being built for US$65 million.

The mine already spends US$45 million on stay-in-business capital, which goes to projects meant to keep the mine running.

Despite being known more for its platinum, the metal is only one of ten minerals that Mimosa produces, according to Ndiyamba. The mine started out as a nickel mine, before switching to PGMs as demand shifted.

Said Ndiyamba: “We mine ten metals. Currently, because of the metal prices, platinum contributes only 20% of Mimosa’s revenue, and 80% comes from other metals; rhodium, palladium, ruthenium, gold, silver, iridium, nickel, copper and cobalt.”