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Zimplats solar plant to come on board next month

ZIMBABWE’S leading platinum producer Zimplats says it expects the construction of its 35 megawatts (MW) solar plant at Selous Metallurgical Complex (SMC) to be complete at the end of next month.

The project is the first phase of the 185MW solar plant valued at US$201 million.

“Implementation of the solar plant at SMC, which is phase one that is a 35MW plant of the total, is earmarked for completion at the end of this coming month, that is July 2023,” Zimplats chairperson Thandi Orleyn said at the commissioning of the third concentrator plant in Ngezi last Thursday.

As part of its US$1,8 billion expansion programme, Zimplats is also constructing a bigger smelter at SMC.

“We are now on the third phase of expansion programme with an investment tag of a potential US$1,8 billion, of which US$1,4 billion has already been approved by the Zimplats board and shareholders which began last quarter of calendar year 2021,” Orleyn added.

“Other major projects still underway include the construction of a wet acid plant that will produce sulphuric acid used in the manufacture of phosphate fertilisers for agricultural purposes, a base metal refinery, and lastly, the expansion of tailing storage facilities.

“Nearly 6 000 jobs will be created in the execution of this total project, generating incomes at household levels for several families in the country and substantial revenue flows to Treasury.”

At the moment, Zimplats has 22 companies that are under its local enterprise development programme and these include Turf Brick Moulding Company and Mine Support Solutions, among others.

A total of US$340 million was invested under phase one of the Zimplats expansion programme, which resulted in production increasing from 2,2 million metric tonnes (mt) per annum to 4,2 million mt.

“A further US$492 million was invested during the period from 2006 to 2010, which led to the second phase of the expansion programme; this particular phase scope covered the development of Mufuti mine and the establishment of a second concentrator plant to increase capacity from the 4,2 million tonnes per annum to 6,2 million tonnes per annum,” Orleyn said.

Speaking at the same event, Mines permanent secretary Pfungwa Kunaka said: “The mining industry is a vital sector of our economy. It plays a significant role in creating jobs. It also generates revenue for the State and it does support the growth of our country at large.

“However, for too long, we have relied on the export of raw minerals, which has limited our ability to realise the full value of our mineral resources.

“This plant will enable us to process our minerals locally, adding value and creating new opportunities for our people. It will also help to diversify our economy and reduce our dependence on commodity prices.”

Zimplats said the third concentrator plant, valued at US$104,1 million, would help increase production by 13%. — _*NewsDay*_



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