HARARE Jan 19 Major platinum miners in Zimbabwe
have met a government deadline to agree and submit plans to
build a major refinery in the country by the end of 2016, state
media reported on Sunday.
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF government gave platinum
mines until Jan. 18 to submit proposals to build a precious
metal refinery within two years or risk a ban on raw exports of
The world's two largest platinum producers, Anglo American
Platinum and Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats)
, both have operations in Zimbabwe, which has the
second-largest known platinum reserves after South Africa.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa was
quoted by the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper's website
as saying he had received plans for the construction of a major
refinery from Implats' local unit Zimplats, Anglo
American's local unit Unki and Mimosa mine, which is jointly
owned by Zimplats and Aquarius Platinum Ltd.
"They have submitted to us their proposals and we are
evaluating them," he said. "They have made a commitment that
they will continue to support Zimbabwe and the setting up of a
platinum refinery is one of their aspirations."
Chidhakwa and spokespersons of the mining companies were not
available for comment to Reuters on the report.
The Sunday Mail said the mining firms had also promised to
look at the possibility of setting up smaller processing plants
and processing ore at an existing small plant. The Mail also
said the companies raised questions over funding and secure
It quoted Zimplats spokeswoman Busi Chindove as saying
recently that the company had invested $30 million in
feasibility studies that assessed the cost of a major refinery
at about $2 billion.
Zimplats owns a base metal refinery that separates minerals
like nickel, chrome and copper from platinum metal groups but
says outdated technology makes it too expensive to run, so it
sends platinum concentrate to South Africa for processing.
The Zimbabwe chamber of mines, which estimated 2012 output
of refined platinum at 350,000 ounces, about 6 percent of world
output, has said the country would need to raise platinum output
to 500,000 ounces a year to justify a refinery.