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Implats stands ground despite Zim levy threat
06/02/2015 00:00:00
by Miningmx.com
Platinum tax punishes refinery failure

WORLD number two platinum producer, Impala Platinum (Implats), is sticking to its guns by insisting that a platinum refinery facility in Zimbabwe can only be delivered in 18 months.

This is despite pressure from government which said a 15% levy will be slapped on raw platinum exports starting this month if a concete plan were not delivered in a week.

Implats’ unit in Zimbabwe, Zimplats, said in a response paper delivered to mines and mining development minister, Walter Chidakwa, that it was making “significant” progress with the smelter issue.

Other platinum mines in Zimbabwe include Unki, owned by Anglo American Platinum and Mimosa, which Implats jointly owns with Aquarius Platinum.

Zimplats exports a semi-processed form of the precious metal while Unki and Mimosa export a raw form.

Chidakwa and his deputy, Fred Moyo, were not answering calls to their mobile phones. Busi Chindove, communications manager for Zimplats declined to comment.

However, a market source said: “The letter was delivered (Friday) and it outlines what the platinum companies have always said; that a refinery can only be up and running by mid-next year. That has always been the position of the three platinum mines".

“We have paid our deposits for the plants. They are being manufactured now,” said Alex Mhembere, CEO of Zimplats in a recent interview on the issue.

Zimplats indicated to the government in the letter that the company was working on the refinery and that “teams had been deployed” to the ground to undertake initial work.

It was not immediately clear how the government had responded to the communication from Implats by the time of writing.

However, a government source, who declined to be named, said that the platinum miners were "playing ball" with the government.


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