Unki Mine, the local unit of world number one platinum producer Anglo Platinum, says its social spending bill will reach $16 million by the end of this year after nearly four years of operating.
General manager Walter Nemasasi told The Source that the company has spent $14.4 million on communities around its Shurungwi operations to date and has budgeted $1.6 million this year.
He said because of the spread of its operations, there were many communities requiring assistance.
“According to our model, our local community is any area that is within a 60 km radius from our centre of operations. So any area which is within that radius should benefit from our projects,” said Nemsasi.
He said the mine had paid up $10 million to the Shurugwi-Tongogara Community Share Ownership Trust to help finance its operations under an empowerment deal reached with government in November 2012. He did not specify when the money was paid.
An attempt to organise a demonstration at the mine by some villagers failed to take off, testament to the company’s work in the community, he said, referring to a group of self-styled, unofficial community pressure groups threatening to disrupt operations at the mine, pushing for preferential employment for locals, among other demands.
“I feel it is unfair if we over do things in one place. We have done projects in the Shurugwi locality close to the mine and we now have to spread to other areas. People might feel that we have moved away from the immediate community but that is not the case,” he said, adding that the mine was undertaking projects as far as Gweru, about 40 kilometres north of Shurugwi.
Unki, which came into production in 2011 and whose output reached 64,500 ounces in 2012 has said it will defer its $400 million expansion plans, which would double output, due to weak metal prices.
The mine is not yet a significant contributor to Amplats’ overall annual output of about 1.5 million ounces, but its location within Zimbabwe, home to the world’s the second largest economic resource means Unki is a key growth prospect for the group.
Unki has a life-of-mine to 2041, which could extend to 2055, according to Amplats.
In November 2012, Amplats signed a $143 million agreement – to be financed through future dividends — with Zimbabwe for the transfer of a 51 percent stake to local entities in terms of the government’s indigenization law, which requires majority black control of all foreign firms operating in the country.