ZIMBABWE’S largest platinum mine by volumes, Zimplats, registered 2% growth in output during the second quarter of the year, the highest since the first quarter of 2021, after the miner entered into a power import agreement with Zambia, a new report by the World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) has shown.
Limited investment in the capital intensive energy sector, unsustainable tariffs for independent power producers and poor regulation have been cited by experts as some of the major reasons discouraging investment into the country.
Before the coming of refurbished units at Hwange thermal power station, Zimbabwe had been battling persistent power outages, which industry captains warned would hamstring productivity. Local companies and domestic consumers have now resorted to alternative sources of energy such as solar and diesel-powered generators to ease the outages.
According to the WPIC, demand in automobiles will help platinum producers ramp up output. The WPIC says the second quarter of 2023 saw the strengthening of demand themes across platinum markets, and South African mine production continued the quarterly yearon-year downward trend which has been ongoing since the beginning of 2022.
“Zimbabwe supply edged 2% higher (+2 koz) year-on-year to 126 koz, its highest since Q4’21. This was the result of higher output from Zimplats as additional milled ore volumes from the commissioning of a concentrator were realised,” reveals the report.
“The operation also benefited from a Zambian power import agreement, mitigating the impact of national load shedding that effected other producers in the country.”
This edition of Platinum Quarterly presents platinum supply and demand developments for the second quarter of 2023, as well as an updated outlook for 2023.
It also provides the WPIC’s views on issues and trends relevant to investors considering exposure to platinum as an investment asset, plus an update on how our product partnerships continue to meet investors’ needs.
“Demand in 2023 is expected to total 8,230 koz (+27% year-on-year), with automotive demand up 381 koz (year-on-year), industrial demand up 336 koz (to a record level in our series), and investment demand improving from net-negative to positive 386 koz. The outlook for jewellery remains muted, with demand effectively flat year-on-year,” the report reads.
“Total supply is now forecast to be flat yearon-year at 7,224 koz, with conditions remaining challenging for both primary and secondary supply. Total supply is expected to be 7% below the average annual output since 2013. Recycling supply has been downgraded by 4% from last quarter, on a continued shortage of end-of-life vehicles.”
Zimbabwe has the second-largest known platinum reserves after South Africa. Zimplats is a unit of South African-headquartered Impala Platinum.