HARARE – Anglo Platinum has completed construction of a smelter at its Unki mine in Zimbabwe and the mining group’s chief executive will open the beneficiation facility together with President Emerson Mnangagwa next week.
AngloPlat, alongside Impala Platinum and Sibanye-Stillwater, is the operational platinum group metals miners in Zimbabwe. The mineral-rich southern African country intends to add more producers in the coming years as the Darwendale project, which has Russian investors and Karo Resources make progress.
The Zimbabwe government has been pressurising platinum group metal (PGM) miners to beneficiate the precious metal from inside the country. Harare had also threatened a 15 percent levy on exports of platinum that is not beneficiated but this has been postponed, with Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube saying the platinum miners have made progress with refinery projects.
AngloPlat is one such company that the government says has made progress and according to Mpumi Sithole, spokesperson for the company, the Unki smelter will be opened on December 12.
The government is, however, still tightening the noose regarding indegenisation requirements as it is expected that Harare will maintain a policy requiring foreign platinum miners to be majority owned by black local groups.
She said in an email on Wednesday that “President Mnangagwa and Chris Griffith, chief executive of Anglo American Platinum will be officially opening the Unki Smelter” on December 12 in Zimbabwe’s Shurugwi area in the Midlands which holds the company’s operations.
Collin Chibafa, chief financial officer for the Unki mine has previously said by email that the company was finalizing construction of “10MW smelter at its mine in Shurugwi” while the company had responded to the “current depressed price environment” by focusing “on efficiency improvements as well as cost reductions”.
Apart from the Unki smelter, Zimplats chief executive, Alex Mhembere has also confirmed that the Implats unit was planning to further refurbish its Selous Metallurgical Complex to enable it to treat feed from all the three platinum mining operations in Zimbabwe.
Ncube also said the platinum miners in Zimbabwe were working on a National Refinery project which had necessitated the stay of the tax on raw platinum exports. Zimbabwe has the world’s second largest platinum reserves after South Africa and is considered to be a relatively low cost environment compared to other deposits in other countries.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE