Zimbabwe: Honeymoon Over for Miners – by Martin Kadzere (All Africa.com – January 8, 2014)


GOVERNMENT has invited mining firms to submit, by Saturday next week, proposals for the establishment of beneficiation facilities as the deadline to ban exports of raw platinum concentrates approaches. The Government gave existing platinum miners two years at the beginning of last year to set up a refinery, but there has been no meaningful progress.

The two years end in December this year, and thereafter, exportation of raw platinum concentrate will be banned. Producers of base metals, mainly nickel and chrome, are also expected to make their proposals.

The settler regime banned exports of base metal ores and concentrates and insisted that all chrome, nickel and copper was refined to at least high intermediate levels in the country.

Chrome was normally refined into bars of ferrochrome, while copper was refined to very high levels of purity during that time. The refineries later closed. In the meantime, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa proposed that companies be levied 15 percent on exports of raw platinum with effect from January 1 this year.

Local mining companies have to establish at least two refineries, one for base metals which separates nickel, copper and cobalt and a precious metals refinery which separates nine different metals including platinum, palladium, gold and rhodium.

Zimbabwe, with second largest known platinum reserve in the world after South Africa, has three major platinum firms – Zimplats, Mimosa Mining Company and Unki Mines.

In a letter to the 10 mining firms, secretary for Mines and Mining Development Professor Francis Gudyanga, said failure by platinum miners to set up value addition facilities by December this year would result in a ban of raw platinum exports.

“The Government of Zimbabwe therefore invites you, in addition to other companies, to put forward an expression of interest to establish the refinery on your own or as lead company in concert with other companies,” said Professor Gudyanga.

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