Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 29 June 2010 – Output at Aquarius Platinum’s Zimbabwe mining joint venture will reach its target capacity of 200 000 ounces in the financial year ending tomorrow, and there are no immediate plans for further expansion.
Aquarius “’ the world’s fourth largest platinum producer “’ owns half the Mimosa mine in Zimbabwe, and the remainder is owned by Impala Platinum Holdings “’ the world’s second largest platinum miner.
An Aquarius spokesman told Reuters here that output in the financial year ending tomorrow would reach the mine’s design capacity of 200 000 ounces of platinum group metals (PGMs) “’ up from 180 000 ounces during the 2009 financial year.
“Mimosa is expected to mine 2.2 million tonnes of ore by the end of the current financial year, slightly up from 2.1 million tonnes last year,” the spokesman said in emailed response to Reuters. He added that planning works on expanding the mine had been done, but were on hold.
“The ore body is big enough to sustain expansion of the mine, so if an expansion were to be initiated, it could lead to a substantial increase in production of at least 50%,” the spokesman said. “At this stage this is only theoretical, however.”
Zimbabwe has the second largest platinum reserves after South Africa, but foreign investors have been deterred by the law that forces foreign-owned companies, including banks and mines, to sell majority shares to local people.
A government minister has said that the cabinet has revised the controversial rules after President Robert Mugabe told miners last month that the laws would be refined to attract investment.
Aquarius said the government’s move was positive but that the final legislation would determine the company’s future investments in Zimbabwe.
“The final shape of this law may have an impact on investment decisions,” said Aquarius.