Zimplats: ‘Mines safe’ despite collapsed shaft

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Zimplats was confident that its mines were safe as it examined the cause of a collapsed shaft at one of its operations in Zimbabwe, general manager Simbarashe Goto said on Wednesday. The unit of JSE-listed Impala Platinum (Implats) announced last Friday that the collapse of an underground shaft had cut output by 50 percent from the company’s Bimha mine, its largest operation, situated 150km south-east of the capital, Harare. No one was injured. “I am confident that the other mines are safe,” Goto said. “We don’t believe there is any reason to strengthen the other mines.” Zimbabwe has the biggest platinum reserves after South Africa. The collapse was triggered by the “accelerated deterioration of ground conditions” initially detected in 2011, Zimplats said. Goto declined to comment on the value of lost production from Bimha. The study into the collapse is being led by a team of experts from South Africa. The incident would not affect a plan by platinum producers to build a refinery to meet government demands to process metal in Zimbabwe rather than abroad, he said. Zimplats closed unchanged at A$8.20 (R81.50) in Sydney yesterday. Implats fell 6c to R107.50 on the JSE. – Bloomberg

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