HARARE Zimbabwe's mining chamber said on Wednesday it expected the government to further defer or scrap altogether a 15 percent tax on raw platinum ore exports because mining companies had made enough progress toward building smelters.
The southern African nation introduced the export levy in January but suspended it in July after mining companies, including Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum and Aquarius, agreed to take part in local metal processing.
Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Isaac Kwesu said Unki mine, which is owned by Amplats, and Mimosa mine that is jointly run by Impala and Aquarius, submitted progress reports on how they planned to build smelters in the country and the government seemed satisfied.
Kwesu told reporters that both the government and the platinum sector were now on "the same wavelength."
He said "deferment is something that will be guaranteed, let alone our prayers are that we need to scrap it off."
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa will present the 2017 national budget in parliament on Dec. 8, when he is expected to announce whether to retain or scrap the platinum levy.
Kwesu said biting cash shortages had affected the mining sector, making it difficult for mines to make payments for foreign imports. Mining firms required nearly $1 billion annually to import production inputs and other consumables.
Platinum production totaled 10.8 tonnes during the first nine months of this year compared with 9 tonnes in 2015 despite weak prices of the metal, Kwesu said.
Gold output rose to 16.2 tonnes during the same period, compared with 14.2 tonnes a year ago, thanks to higher production by small scale miners.
(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by James Macharia)