Mimosa To Resume Operations Week After Fire

Work stopped at Mimosa mine, a 50-50 joint venture between Aquarius and South Africa’s Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. (IMP.JO), after its main conveyer belt caught Monday night.

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“It is anticipated that for the first 19 days, mining output will be at an average of 70% of normal production increasing to 100% of normal production by Monday, 18 June 2012,” said Mimosa Managing Director Winston Chitando in a statement Wednesday.

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“The mining production loss during this period is estimated at 75,000 metric tons of ore which is more than covered by the current surface stockpile of about 140,000 tons of ore. As a result production of platinum ounces for the month and the quarter will not be affected and is expected to be on budget,” said Chitando.

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The mine produced 104,900 troy ounces of platinum in 2011 and employs 1,796 people, including contractors.

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Smoke from the fire had prevented 75 workers from escaping as visibility was poor but by Tuesday afternoon all the workers were able to leave the mine.

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It’s been a tumultuous year for the Mimosa mine. The Zimbabwe government has been trying to enforce an indigenization law demanding miners cede 51% of mine assets to the government or government-approved entities such as community trusts.

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In March, Impala and Aquarius agreed in principle to the 51% deal, but said the details of how the government will pay for its 31% option in shares are ongoing.

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