Unki is owned by South African company, Anglo Platinum Limited.
The mine which is expected to become the corporation’s largest source of platinum in the next few years represents a 4.5-billion-rand investment and has been assiduously developed for several years, effectively pitting it against Zimplats controlled by another South African company, Impala Holdings.
Unki general manager Walter Nemasasi said Anglo Platinum recognises the need for black economic empowerment in Zimbabwe, as it has successfully handled a similar programme in South Africa.
“The responsible development of the mine will create a long-term viable business that will be important to the economic future of Zimbabwe for years to come,” he said.
Nemasasi said Unki Mine was confident that it will be in a ‘strong position’ to meet Zimbabwe’s requirements.
Last month government caused panic in the mining sector when it gave companies six months to comply with the indigenisation regulations.
According to the general, all miners are required to comply with the provisions of the law within 45 days by providing an indigenisation framework proposal to the Ministry of Youth Development, Indeginisation and Empowerment for approval.
Under the aegis of black empowerment, mines will have to provide for the transfer of majority control to sovereign wealth funds or other state-controlled entities with minimum shareholding by indigenous investors as a controlling 51% stake.
Nemasasi said Unki Mine was a long-term investment and would not be derailed by indeginisation.
“ Anglo Platinum Limited is committed to bringing Unki mine into steady production by 2013.
“They are engaged in direct discussion with the government of Zimbabwe regarding its compliance with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act,” he said.
He said Unki also supports the efforts by the Chamber of Mines to come up with an indigenisation and economic empowerment implementation mechanism that achieves growth for the Zimbabwean mining industry.
Nemasasi said production at the mine was gradually being increased, and expected this to hit 120,000 tonnes per month of ore processed by the concentrator.
Zimbabwe has the second largest reserves of platinum in the world which lies within the Great Dyke.
Nemasasi said exports of platinum concentrates have been performing relatively well ever since the mining company began operations.
“The mining and concentrator operations are in ramp up phase and Unki Mine aims to reach steady state capacity by 2013 at the latest,” he said.
The concentrate is largely being sold to South Africa where it is smelted and refined to produce the platinum group of metals.
Government anticipates the mining sector to contribute 13 % of the Gross Domestic Product by 2015, sustained by firming commodity prices on the world market and recapitalisation of operations.