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Platinum smelter to start 2016, Chamber says
06/03/2015 00:00:00
by Bloomberg
 
 
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PLATINUM-MINING companies in Zimbabwe, which has the world’s biggest reserves of the metal after South Africa, will probably be processing the metal in the country by the middle of next year, according to the Chamber of Mines.

Producers “should certainly see the commissioning of beneficiation of platinum projects by mid next year,” Chamber of Mines President Alex Mhembere told lawmakers on Friday in the capital, Harare. The organization represents most medium- and large-scale miners in the country.

Zimbabwe’s government has repeatedly warned miners of the precious metal that taxes and royalties will be raised unless the mineral is smelted in the country, rather than in neighboring South Africa.

A 15 percent levy was added in January. Producers in the country include Anglo American Platinum Ltd., and Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd., the world’s two biggest for the metal.

Production of minerals, including platinum, has fallen as commodity prices decline and erratic power supplies curb output, Mhembere told lawmakers.

Gold, platinum and diamonds face “viability problems” that won’t be solved unless the nation encourages investment into new mines, Mhembere said.

We’re exploiting reserves that have been exploited over the years and we need to attract new investment,” Mhembere said. He didn’t say over what period production had slipped.

Zimbabwe’s state-owned utility, Zesa Holdings Ltd., produces and imports about half the country’s 2,200-megawatt requirement, resulting in almost daily power cuts across the country.



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