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Implats keen to set up refinery: Minister
20/03/2014 00:00:00
by The Source
 
 
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SOUTH Africa’s Impala Platinum, the world’s second-largest platinum miner, is willing to set up a platinum refinery in the country, mines minister Walter Chidhakwa said on Thursday.

“We had a meeting yesterday with the chairperson of Implats (Dr Khotso Mokhele), he left this morning. We had a very interesting discussion with him. They have ideas which we are beginning to consider,” Chidhakwa told The Source.

But he said the government is yet to make a decision on the refinery.

“It’s a big project and we have to look at a whole range of things. We have to think about the financing and the technology among others,” he said.

Last month, Chidhakwa said government had shortlisted two companies to set up the refinery. Zimbabwe has the second-largest platinum reserves in the world after South Africa and will ban exports of unprocessed platinum by the end of the year.

Currently, the platinum group metals are processed in neighbouring South Africa. Government wants foreign-owned platinum miners to build a refinery in the country to add value to local minerals and has indicated that it is willing to let them keep majority ownership in return.

Implats, Anglo-American Platinum and Aquarius Platinum, have local operations.

Commenting on contribution of the diamonds sector to the economy, Chidhakwa said government was finalising the Minerals Act.

“It’s no longer enough to say we own 50 percent of diamond companies. We have to be accountable to ensure real financial benefits to the people. We need to be thorough about how we can get as many people as possible to benefit from the mining sector,” he said.

“The most undemocratic mineral is diamonds,” Chidhakwa said of the current profit sharing situation.


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