Zimbabwe renews threat as platinum-refinery deadline expires

via Zimbabwe renews threat as platinum-refinery deadline expires – Mineweb.com by Godfrey Marawanyika & Franz Wild (Bloomberg) 17 Jan 2014

The government is reiterating its resolve to enforce the two- year period window in which to build a refinery, a period that ends in 2014, the country’s secretary of mines said.

Zimbabwe’s deadline for the world’s biggest platinum producers to submit plans for the construction of a refinery expires today as it confirms its decision to ban raw exports of the metal by year end, according to a government document.

Secretary for Mines and Mining Development Francis Gudyanga “extended an invitation” to companies including the local units of Anglo American Platinum Ltd. and Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. to bid for the rights to build platinum and base- metal refineries to which the country’s producers would be compelled to send their ore, according to a Jan. 3 letter to producers, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News.

As there has been no progress toward building a refinery, “the government is reiterating its resolve to enforce the two- year period window, which ends in 2014, after which exports of raw platinum concentrates will not be permitted,” Gudyanga said in the letter.

The Platinum Producers Association, which represents the biggest producers, didn’t immediately respond to e-mailed questions.

Zimbabwe, which has the second-biggest platinum reserves after neighboring South Africa, produces 430,000 ounces of the metal per year, the document said. The country’s platinum industry needs as much as $5.3 billion if it is to expand to more than 500,000 ounces of output and to construct refineries to process platinum group metals and industrial metals extracted from the same ore bodies, according to the platinum producers group.

Kickstart Economy

Zimbabwe is trying to boost the value of its exports as it seeks to kickstart the recovery of its economy, which contracted by 40 percent between 2000 and 2008 as political disputes repelled investment and pushed the inflation rate to the highest in the world.

Deputy Mines Minister Fred Moyo on Jan. 9 said setting up a refinery, which would cost as much as $2 billion, before next year is probably unachievable.

In the letter, the government asked the bidding companies to detail their power, water and infrastructure requirements. The companies say Zimbabwe doesn’t have the 100 megawatts of power the refinery would need available.

The other companies the letter mentions are Aquarius Platinum Ltd., RusChrome, a Russian-owned venture, Global Platinum Resources, part-owned by China’s Norinco, Todal, which is part-owned by Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. and a unit of Mwana Africa Plc. Companies known as Karo Resources and Partnership Platinum Consortium are also included in the letter.

–Editors: Alex Devine, Alastair Reed



  • comment-avatar
    John Thomas 8 years ago

    Ha ha. They are setting themselves up again. Silly fellows. You can bully an ignorant peasant. The result with a big mining company can be very different

  • comment-avatar
    Priscilla 8 years ago

    I though these morons would have learnt a thing or two after BHP ceased operations in Zimbabwe. The government is playing Russian roulette by trying to gamble with mining conglomerates. The idiots are doomed to fail.

  • comment-avatar
    word writer 8 years ago

    Mugabe is not an idiot. He has a plan up his sleeve. I would like to ask readers ask themselves how russia and other countries refine their platinum. How does johnson mathy in the uk refine other metals.

    Do you not know that it is easy to cheat the books when it comes to merely exporting the mined ore,and not the finished product? That Zimbabwe is losing out on hundreds of millions of usd because it is not exporting platinum [99.99% pure]

    I PREDICT is there not a downsized manner of smelting platinum? I think the platinum producers are in a type of mexican standoff with government that they will lose. This is my prediction.

    1. The government will ask chinese to build a smaller refinery.
    2. they will remove the licenses of all miners who have shown no interest in smelting platinum.
    3. The chinese and indians will be asked to do the mining
    4. The chinese and indians will do the mining, they will smelt the platinum but they will externalise the funds and again zimbabwe will be ripped off.