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Zimbabwe Shortlists Two Companies for Planned Platinum Refinery

Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe has shortlisted two unidentified companies to build a platinum refinery in the southern African nation, mines minister Walter Chidakwa said.

The Mines Ministry will conduct a due diligence study before a final announcement is made by Mines Secretary Francis Gudyanga, Chidakwa said by phone from the capital, Harare.

The local units of Anglo American Platinum Ltd., Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. and Aquarius Platinum Ltd. said last month that they supported Zimbabwe’s plan to build a refinery after the government threatened to ban exports of unrefined ore.

The country has the world’s biggest platinum reserves after neighboring South Africa and produces 430,000 ounces of the metal annually.

To increase production to the more than 500,000 ounces annually needed to justify the construction of base and precious metal smelters and refineries, investment of $2.8 billion is needed in mines, as much as $2 billion in processing plants and $200 million to $500 million to ensure adequate power supply, the Harare-based Chamber of Mines said in a report obtained by Bloomberg in October.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Latham in Harare at blatham@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net

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