Zimbabwe’s platinum miners will engage a consultant to give advice on the establishment of a base metal refinery by 2025 and a precious metal refinery by 2027 to process platinum from all the country’s platinum mines.
The platinum miners—Zimplats, Mimosa Mining Company and Unki — have a strong plan to jointly develop a base-metal refinery in the country. The plan has been under consideration since 2014.
The miners agreed at last week’s Chamber of Mines Zimbabwe conference to engage a consultant to come up with a road map, according to Mines and Mining Development minister Winston Chitando.
“In the meeting, there were various issues addressed around enablers for the refinery construction and I can assure you that those enablers will be addressed for work to go forward. It was also agreed that a consultant be engaged to come up with a roadmap that will culminate in the construction of a base metal refinery,” Chitando said.
In 2017, Zimbabwe signed an agreement with Australia’s Kelltech Limited, to construct a US$200m platinum refinery for platinum miners.
Zimbabwe has the second largest known deposits of platinum after South Africa and has been pushing mining firms operating in the country to build refineries to stop the export of raw platinum ore.
In 2015, the government imposed a 15% tax on raw platinum ore exports to force companies to process locally but suspended the levy after the miners agreed to support local platinum processing.
The establishment of a platinum refinery has become even more urgent considering that mining is expected to anchor economic growth under the National Development Strategy 1 which charts policies, institutional reforms and national priorities needed from 2021-2025 to achieve an upper middle income economy under Vision 2030.
According to Chitando, the platinum sector is expected to exceed US$3bn revenue by 2021 driven mainly by increased production and the coming on board of new players.
Great Dyke Investments and Bravura platinum mining are expected to resume production which will play a critical role in achieving the 2022 platinum revenue target.