Platinum firms mull US$3bln Zim refinery

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MINING giants Impala Platinum Holdings, Anglo American Platinum and Aquarius Platinum are studying building a $3 billion platinum and base metal refining complex in Zimbabwe, an industry group said.
Together the companies are considering jointly building a smelter, a base metals refinery and a precious metals refinery, the association, which represents the miners, said in a statement handed to Bloomberg News.
Platinum occurs with a number of other precious metals including palladium and rhodium as well base metals, used in industry, such as nickel.
Impala, through its Zimbabwe Platinum Mines Ltd. unit, operates the Ngezi mine itself and runs the Mimosa operation in a venture with Aquarius. Anglo American Platinum, known as Amplats, owns the Unki mine.
Together the mines are forecast to produce about 365,000 ounces of platinum this year. Zimbabwe has the world’s second-biggest platinum deposits after South Africa and accounts for about 6 percent of world production.
“The PPA are still finalizing the cost of construction and commissioning of these units,” the group said.
Additional costs will include power supply, road, water and housing, the group said. Currently the country can’t supply the more than 100 megawatts of electricity the complex would need, it said.
“The critical requirement to spur growth in our industry is power,” it said.
Amplats and Impala, the world’s two biggest producers of the metal, are based in South Africa.Advertisement