Zim’s refined platinum production up 1 percent

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By Alois Vinga

ZIMBABWE’s refined platinum production went up 1 percent in the first quarter of 2019, the World Investment Platinum Council (WIPC) 2019’s first quarter report has revealed.

According to the council, supply of refined production went up 1 percent in the first quarter of 2019 up from minus 3 percent recorded in 2017.

Internationally, the supply of refined platinum for the first quarter production rose 18 percent in the first quarter of 2019.

“South African output climbed by 21 percent year-on-year basis while smaller increases in output also occurred in North America, Russia, and other regions,” the report said.

On the production side, quantities slid by a marginal 5 percent from 120 000 ounces in the previous quarter to 110 000 ounces, unfortunately out of the major mineral’s producers, Zimbabwe was the only country to record a decline in the period under review.

Total mining supply from the Southern African nation is estimated at 1,530 koz (thousand ounces) for the first quarter, an increase of 245 koz year-on-year.

Production from Zimbabwe is expected to remain stable at 470, and a small pipeline release in Russia will mostly be offset by continued alluvial mine depletion to give 670 koz for the year. Total mining supply is forecast at 6,375 koz, with an estimated restocking of 25 koz in producer inventory.

Globally, platinum demand is expected to increase by eight percent in 2019 on the back of a strong increase in investment demand while supply is expected to rise by four percent this year.

However, power disruptions and industrial action pose the threats of risks that could materially reduce South African mining supply during the year.

“With demand projected to increase more than supply, the annual 2019 market balance will narrow sharply to a surplus of 375 koz from the previously forecast surplus of 680 koz,” WIPC chief executive, Paul Wilson remarked.

Recently, mining giant, Anglo American opened a US $62-million platinum smelter in Zimbabwe, being the country’s first such refinery.

Zimbabwe’s platinum is found on the Great Dyke belt, which stretches for more than 500 kilometers and contains an estimated 96 million ounces in platinum group metals, including platinum and palladium.