Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 19 February 2010 – Impala Platinum (Implats) “’ the world’s second-largest producer of the metal “’ hopes to have clarity over the proposed phase two expansion at its Zimplats operation in Zimbabwe by May this year.
Interviewed here after the presentation of the Implats interim results for the six months to 31 December 2009, CEO David Brown told Miningmx: “The phase two feasibility study has been completed, and this investment is pretty much ready to go. We have a wonderful opportunity where we would like to expand sooner rather than later, but we have to balance that outlook against the real fears of our shareholders so that all are comfortable with the decision on when to proceed,” he added.
Zimplats increased platinum production by 74% to 81 600 ounces in the six months to end-December, and dropped its costs by 25% to US$1,009/oz. “Zimplats is now one of the lowest-cost primary platinum producers in the world,” said Brown.
He pointed out that the main issue to be resolved was the new indigenisation legislation that had been gazetted, requiring a 51% Zimbabwean equity participation in all businesses in the country.
“We believe the indigenisation equity requirements for Zimplats should be in the 15% to 26% range when the various offsets already earned by the company are taken into account,” he proposed.
“We are not anti-indigenisation, but we do not believe that this 51% requirement is correct.
“This process has the potential to undo a lot of good that has been done so far in the country since last year,” Brown explained.
“We require clarity that this is as we have envisaged “’ the situation is not perfectly clear from the legislation, so we have to make sure one more time.”