No site yet for Aussie-Zim platinum refinery

No site yet for Aussie-Zim  platinum refinery
Minister of Mines, and Mining Development, Walter Chidhakwa

Minister of Mines, and Mining Development, Walter Chidhakwa

GOVERNMENT is yet to locate a site for the construction of a $300 million platinum refinery, set to be established under a joint venture arrangement between an Australian partner and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), a minister has said.
Deputy Mines and Mining Development Minister, Fred Moyo, told The Financial Gazette this week government was yet to find a suitable site for the refinery, almost three months after announcing the venture.
The Australian partner in the venture is Kell Technology (Kelltech).
“We have not yet found a suitable site. They have to get back to us so that we can look at the Dyke and factors like the central gravity of the resource,” Moyo said.
His remarks come after the country’s biggest platinum miner, Zimplats, last week announced it had halted work on its smelter on the back of cash flow constraints.
Mines Minister, Walter Chidhakwa, announced the joint venture in May, highlighting that government will, in the next five years, promulgate new legislation that would require platinum miners to provide up to 1,2 million ounces of platinum concentrate to the planned refinery.
Once the refinery becomes operational, platinum miners would be forced to supply their matte to the facility.
In selling matte to Kelltech, platinum miners would avoid a proposed 15 percent duty on the export of unrefined platinum which is due to be enforced by government in 2018.
According to Chidhakwa, the refinery will have a processing capacity of 300 000 tonnes per year and is expected to start running in 2020.
Moyo said there were various factors being examined in the refinery’s construction like proximity to the country’s platinum miners.
“We will also look at distance, because it is vital that the refinery be located close to the miners as well as matters around power supply and water. In the end, the partners will state their preference to us and we will act on this,” he said.
Zimbabwe has the world’s largest platinum reserves after South Africa. Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum Holdings, the world’s two largest platinum producers, have mines in Zimbabwe, shipping platinum matte to South Africa for refining.
The platinum industry is nearing the 500 000 ounces of annual output needed to make a refinery viable.
Chidhakwa has previously estimated the cost of the refinery and an associated 600-megawatt power plant at $3,2 billion. newsdesk@fingaz.co.zw

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