THE Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) has agreed deals with a UK-listed but Kazakhstan-focused multinational and a Chinese partner to start platinum production on concessions seized from Anglo Platinum and Implats.
Officials confirmed state-run firm would partner London-listed Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) which is controlled by businessmen from Kazakhstan and the government of the former Soviet Union country.
The venture is due to start platinum production in the first quarter of next year. An exploration report from an alliance with the Chinese company, previously identified as Norinco International Cooperation Ltd, is due by year-end.
“Everything is on course” for the venture with ENRC, to start production in the country by April, Jerry Ndlovu, ZMDC managing director said on Tuesday. ENRC declined to comment when called.
Zimbabwe, which has the world’s biggest resources of platinum after South Africa, is trying to expand the mining industry in a bid to support its still fragile recovery from a decade of economic contraction between 2000 and 2009.
A collapse in the production of tobacco and roses, blamed by critics on the government’s haphazard land reforms, increased the country’s reliance on the metal.
The country will produce about 365,000 ounces of platinum this year from mines owned by Anglo Platinum, Impala and Aquarius Platinum, according to the Chamber of Mines.
Meanwhile, according to its last annual report, ENRC also holds 60 percent of Todal Mining, which owns a concession near Shurugwi with the balance controlled by ZMDC.
ENRC acquired the interest when it took over Central African Mining Exploration (Camec) who had paid $120 million in cash and shares for the stake in 2008 and also agreed to lend the government a further $100 million, it said in a statement at the time.
The concessions were formerly held by Johannesburg-based Anglo American Platinum.
In 2008 Camec said a mine on the Bougai and Kironde concessions would be built at a cost of $200 million within 18 months and would produce as much as 150,000 ounces of platinum annually.
ZMDC also has an equally owned venture, Global Platinum, with a Chinese company, Ndlovu said, declining to give the identity of the company.Advertisement
The venture will operate as Shin-Zim Ltd., he said.
In 2006 the ZMDC said it formed Global Platinum with Norinco, a state-owned Chinese engineering company, on concessions taken from Impala.
“We have spent $40 million on exploration for that project,” he said. “The final report for exploration shall be with us before the end of the year.”
Global’s concessions are in Selous, 69 kilometres south west of Harare.
“We are still at the exploration stage,” Richman Ncube, a spokesman for Global, said. Results are “favourable, these things take time.
Meanwhile the Chamber of Mines listed other potential producers as RusChrome, Amari Platinum and ACR, in a report this month.