Zimbabwe Platinum Producers Commit to Government’s Refinery Plan

The Zimbabwean Platinum Producers Association representing companies including Anglo American Platinum Ltd. (AMS) and Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. (IMP) said it’s “committed” to the country’s plan to build a refinery.

Processing platinum group metals domestically “definitely makes economic sense,” the industry body said in an e-mailed response to questions yesterday.

Producers submitted plans to build refineries to process raw platinum after President Robert Mugabe’s government threatened them with a ban on exports if they fail to complete a plant by the end of the year. Zimbabwe has the world’s biggest platinum reserves after neighboring South Africa.

“We are committed to this initiative,” the group said. “The setting up of these units is part of growth, which is currently under review.”

Zimbabwe produces 430,000 ounces of platinum a year, according to a Jan. 3 letter from the government to the producers obtained by Bloomberg News. The 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 association.

The refineries would require as much as 150 megawatts of electricity and other basic infrastructure, the association said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Franz Wild in Johannesburg at fwild@bloomberg.net; Godfrey Marawanyika in Harare at gmarawanyika@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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