Zim considers Implats refinery proposal

HARARE - Zimbabwe is considering a platinum refinery construction proposal by South Africa-based Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats), businessdaily has learnt.

Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa yesterday said he met Implats chairperson, Khotso Mokhele, this Wednesday to discuss the modalities of the miner’s intention to set up the billion-dollar facility in Zimbabwe.

“We had an interesting meeting. They have got ideas which we are beginning to consider,” he said.

Implats is the majority shareholder in Zimbabwe Platinum Mines

Holdings (Zimplats). Zimbabwe, with the second largest known platinum reserves in the world, had shortlisted two firms to take up the project following submissions by local platinum group metals (PGMs) producers — including Anglo’s Unki, Mimosa and Zimplats.

This was on the back of intensified pressure by authorities to have the refinery built with President Robert Mugabe giving the miners a two-year ultimatum and threatening to ban exports of the metal in raw form.

Since then, nine local and foreign companies have expressed interest in the project.

Last week, China’s ambassador to Zimbabwe said his country is willing to help the African nation establish its first platinum refinery as it attempts to boost its economy by processing the precious metal rather than exporting semi-processed ore.

“China is not quite sophisticated in that area, but we are trying to cooperate with our Zimbabwe partners,” said Ambassador Lin Lin.

Lin noted that China had made its submissions to the Mines ministry.

“We want to have a refinery here, so we said to them to show our goodwill on our relations between Zimbabwe and China we gave Global Platinum Resources (GPR) a licence to seek platinum in the country,” he said.

GPR is part-owned by China’s Norinco International Cooperation Ltd.

Recently, the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines said local mining industry broadly supported government’s proposal to build a new platinum refinery by 2016 as part of efforts to make the mining sector a key driver of economic growth. Platinum output in Zimbabwe rose to an all-time record of 430 000 ounces in 2013, up from 340 000 ounces the previous year.

The industry was nearing the 500 000 ounces threshold needed to make the refinery viable.

Chidhakwa has previously estimated the cost of the refinery and associated 600 MW power plant at $3,2 billion.

Zimbabwe is aggressively trying to boost value of its minerals, particularly platinum and diamonds, as it seeks to kick-start recovery of its moribund economy.

The economy contracted by 40 percent between 2000 and 2008 as political disputes repelled investment and pushed the inflation rate to world highs.


Comments (4)

The Minister of Mines, Mr Chidhakwa is a hard working chap, the same can not be said about most of his colleagues. However, I do not think dealing with the Chinese is in our best interest as previous records prove. What do they want in return, we should not always be short changed by these enterprising Orientals.

Dr Know - 21 March 2014

Machaina apond Zimasco. modazve kuti navo takarasima. Hamudzidzi mkaitasei. Chikwereti chemuhondo chisingaperi kubhadharwa ndecherudzii nhai vakomana. madhara aya zveshuwa vane misoro here ava. kusvika vapera kufa zveshuwa nyika ino tinongoramba tiri pwere

munhu - 22 March 2014

Tha's the right move you are taking that's to build a a new platinum refinery. We actual benefit more in the given direction. Just to mention a few areas of benefit, we gain more in infrastructure development, employment creation, skills development. I will use a quote by James Allen: For true success, we have to ask ourselves these four questions: Why? Why not? Why not Us? Why not now?

Hilda Suka-Mafudze - 23 March 2014

Its the buidling thats the problem. The benefits we all know them (if the y happen to come). We have seen little benefit in Chiadzwa, if at all.

Tongogara - 4 April 2014

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