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Zimbabwe Seeks Help From China to Develop Platinum Refinery

China’s ambassador to Zimbabwe said his country is willing to help the African nation establish its first platinum refinery as it attempts to boost its economy by processing the precious metal rather than exporting semi-processed ore.

“China is not quite sophisticated in that area, but we are trying to cooperate with our Zimbabwe partners,” Ambassador Lin Lin told a conference in the capital, Harare, yesterday.

Zimbabwe, which holds the world’s second-biggest platinum reserves after South Africa, is demanding that companies mining the metal in the country should build a refinery there. Anglo American Platinum Ltd., Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. and Aquarius Platinum Ltd. have operations in Zimbabwe.

The country’s Chamber of Mines said in February that a refinery would need as much as $5.3 billion in investment, in building the plant and boosting output, to make it viable.

The country’s annual platinum production is about 430,000 ounces.

Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa in January led a delegation to China to seek concessional loans, Lin Lin said. The ministry will send another delegation next week, he said.

The delegation met representatives of Sinosure, or the China Credit Export & Insurance Corp., and Export Import Bank of China, said Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa.

“It’s now up to the Ministry of Mines to decide,” he said. “We want to have a refinery here, so we said to them to show our good will on our relations between Zimbabwe and China we gave Global Platinum a license” to seek platinum in the country.

Global Platinum Resources is part-owned by China’s Norinco International Cooperation Ltd.

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