Zimbabwe, which last year compelled the world’s biggest platinum producers including Anglo American Platinum Ltd. (AMS) to set up a refinery for the metal in the country by 2015, said this goal may be unachievable.
“I am not sure if it will be possible to achieve that deadline since we are left with just one year,” Deputy Mines Minister Fred Moyo said by phone today from the capital, Harare. “This depends on technology, funding availability, skills and as well as timing. We are producing around 400,000 ounces but setting up a refinery may cost a billion, $2 billion, but this is dependent on our production levels.”
President Robert Mugabe in November threatened to halt exports of the precious metal unlessImpala Platinum Holdings Ltd. (IMP), Aquarius Platinum Ltd. and Anglo American Plc’s platinum unit set up a facility in the country, according to the state-controlled Herald. They’re studying building a $3 billion complex, the Platinum Producers Committee, which represents the producers, said in October. The companies say Zimbabwe doesn’t produce the 100 megawatts of power the refinery would need.
Moyo spoke after government officials met with the Chamber of Mines, which also represents the platinum producers, about the southern African nation’s plan to introduce a 15 percent levy on unprocessed exports of the metal. Zimbabwe has the world’s biggest reserves of platinum after neighboring South Africa, where all its ore is now refined.
The government and the mining companies agreed that they should “commit ourselves to value addition in the diamond, platinum and chrome sectors,” Moyo said. Deputy Finance Minister Samuel Undenge was also present at the meeting.