File image: Reuters

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe plans to raise royalties payable by platinum miners to make producers process the metal in the country, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu said.

Semi-processed ore will attract more charges than refined ore, Mpofu told reporters today in the capital, Harare.

“We have become a source of cheap raw material and we need to improve on the value of our minerals, especially our precious minerals, and that should stop,” he said.

Zimbabwe, which has the largest platinum reserves in the world after South Africa, charges a 10 percent royalty on platinum, according to the ministry.

Mpofu didn’t disclose the proposed new rates.

Impala Platinum, which owned 87 percent of Zimplats and is the world’s biggest producer of the metal after Anglo American Platinum, signed terms to sell 51 percent of the unit to the country’s black citizens in January.

Zimplats must cede the stake without compensation, because Mugabe said March 1 that all natural resources belong to the state, Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said by phone today. - Bloomberg News