Zimbabwe to ban platinium exports

2013-11-21 23:12

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe, the world's number three platinum producer, is determined to ban exports of raw platinum and to force firms to refine locally, the new mines minister told AFP Thursday.

"We are determined to ensure that a refinery is put up in Zimbabwe," minister Walter Chidakwa said, speaking during a visit to Johannesburg.

"Once you put up a refinery, surely we must put a law that says we do not want our platinum to be exported as raw," he added.

"We want our minerals value-added," he said.

Cash-strapped Zimbabwe is increasingly looking to the mining sector to help solve its liquidity shortage, which economists say has worsened since the July elections won by veteran leader Robert Mugabe.

The greyish mineral used in the car industry and in jewellery production, is shipped out of the country in raw blocks for refining in  South Africa, the world's largest platinum maker.

President Mugabe last week warned that he would halt platinum exports if mining companies refused to build a refinery.

Platinum miners had been issued an ultimatum by the former power sharing government to set up a refinery, but that deadline has already passed.

Chidakwa said platinum producers operated by South African-based Anglo-American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Aquarius Platinum, argued that they are yet to reach the minimum production threshold of 500,000 ounces that justify the creation of a smelter.

The affiliates of the three companies produced around 347 000 ounces last year and are expected to produce around 400 000 ounces in 2013.


Chidakwa shot down that argument, as "academic".

"It is something else that drives them not to go that route, but we are determined."

"As government we will be announcing measures on what we will do to ensure that a refinery is set up."

Accounting for six percent of global output, Zimbabwe is the third producer of platinum after South Africa and Russia, and has the second known reserves after South Africa, according to the country's chamber of mines.

With labour unrest curbing South African production, many see an opportunity for Zimbabwe to become a bigger player.

But electricity cuts and political instability remain a problem.

Zimbabwe will in the "next five to 10 years enjoy reasonable stability" and start to claim a bigger role in the global platinum market, said Chidakwa, a former investment chief appointed mines minister after the 31 July disputed general elections.

  • An Saint - 2013-11-21 23:39

    It's "academic". That's what they all say when they don't understand what the true problem is. These imbeciles all think that scientists and engineers should just pull everything out of their asses and hand it to them on a plate.

      Magenta Mikha - 2013-11-22 06:39

      You speak as though you are an engineer. I can tell you now that the decision to build or not to build a refinery is not an engineering decision.if Zim is trying to develop their economy,what's wrong with that?in fact all corporate should follow the example of De beers in Botswana,instead of looting Africa's minerals

      Amdyn - 2013-11-22 06:53

      Refineries are not cheap to build and there is a minimum requirement in terms of ounce input required. There is also a question of how to ensure that power is supplied, they can't just be turned on and off. Refineries use a LOT of power and if Zimbabwe cannot keep the lights on there is no way a refinery can work.

      Craig King - 2013-11-22 07:28

      The desire of the Zimbabweans is understandable. They think that the effect will be more jobs and more revenue for individuals and the state. What will happen though is both the Zimbabwean and South African platinum industries will become less profitable. The SA and Zim refineries will have low throughput and so higher unit costs which cannot be recovered from the market. This will leave less cash for expansion and so will slow the industry down in both countries. The biggest beneficiary of this will be Russia and they will expand more rapidly and secure more market share. I suppose it's natural for the Zimbabwe government to see this in isolation and will take more now and less over time. That has always been the nature of ZANU-PF's economic outlook. As an aside there is always much noise made about "the second largest platinum reserves" but that really is irrelevant as it is about exploitation not reserves and the market needs can be met for the foreseeable future by Russia alone, or by other smaller players around the world. I don't mention SA because the insanity of the labour laws here will ensure we stop being a platinum producer soon. Also don't forget the new technology of carbon nano-tubes that looks set to replace platinum in automotive applications. Platinum is not a long term industry anywhere.

      Koos Delusion - 2013-11-22 08:10

      Go figure: half the economic active population of Zim is here - while the ANC admire, hug and praise the very cause (Mugabe) of this calamity...

      BeObamaz - 2013-11-22 12:04

      I think this is a positive move for Zimbabwe.I don't know why everyone is against this? If its about POWER, they are currently working on that. they are expanding the Kariba Electricity Project. Why is it people always want to see Zimbabwe suffer, because of one person? (Mugabe)???. Zimbabwe is not a Family company but a state just like any other state.

  • Rory Neil Price - 2013-11-22 00:06

    Between him and Jayzee, it is Dumb and Dumber

      Daveq77 - 2013-11-22 04:17

      And that makes you....

      Joe Galo - 2013-11-22 08:13

      Why are you afraid of Zuma so much!!!

  • Uitenhage Biz - 2013-11-22 00:29

    People are Struggling in that country...i hope this move bringing in refinery into the country could create jobs and in the end it should help the locals. lets hope ..

      Amdyn - 2013-11-22 06:56

      Refineries do not employ many people at all. At best the construction of a refinery will increase government revenues marginally (if they can keep the power up to run it - refineries need a LOT of power !)

      Amdyn - 2013-11-22 07:11

      Refineries do not employ many people. In fact this will reduce employment as the many employed to drive concentrate around will lose their jobs.

  • Kagiso Booi - 2013-11-22 00:35

    Headline is misleading, I fully understand and support Zim gvt on this.

      WILDSBOK - 2013-11-22 00:46

      "I fully understand". Are you sure???? Ish....i am the biggest idiot

      Jaku Holland - 2013-11-22 05:18

      I am stupid too I don't what can I do as a white man. I am from Holland.

      Amdyn - 2013-11-22 06:57

      You can support the Zim government on this- the reality is that 1) they don't have the power required to keep a refinery running 2) they don't produce eno

      Amdyn - 2013-11-22 07:15

      Sigh. Sorry about the half post. 1) they don't have the power 2) they don't have the ounces to keep a refinery running 3) this will reduce employment - refineries don't employ many people, but all the people employed to drive rock around will no longer be needed 4) the difference in tax revenues is relatively small because the industry is small

      Kagiso Booi - 2013-11-22 07:47

      @Amdyn- you can't export mineral ore. Mineral refinery adds 8% to SA's GDP so one can just imagine what it will do to Zim economy. The minimum required threshold as the minister stated is just a numbers game, the gvt can introduce a subsidy or tax cut for the difference in production to make the refinery viable.

  • John Butler - 2013-11-22 00:41

    Under the indigenisation law, the mining companies are required to tranfer 51% ownership to the locals. Does that mean that the local 'owners' will pay for half of the refinery?

      Vincent Davince Malapane - 2013-11-22 06:08

      Oviours John..Mugabe he's stupit as most of whites think he is..

      John Stoltz - 2013-11-22 06:48

      John, mad Bob's arithmatic only works as follows : White man = Zim $ for free, since ZANU-PF cannot create wealth, like most African dictators !!

      Cindy Meyer - 2013-11-22 11:44

      Vincent, you are so wrong. I most certainly do not think Mugabe is stupid. He is very very clever. He is intelligent enough to manipulate the voters to keep him in power, and keep him in the lap of luxury, while his people die of hunger. He is clever enough to fool you too. You the one who is stupid, Mugabe is clever, but you can't see through him.

  • Khanyisa Kubheka - 2013-11-22 00:49

    Zim gains. SA at a loss. I guess South Africans need to think like Africans after all Mr. President

      Odirile Seemise - 2013-11-22 06:40

      Agreed Khanyisa, We indeed have to think like Africans in Africa, then we can reclaim our identity, land and the future of African children. The future of Africa can only be shaped by Africans. Side note, don't mind the thumbs down, its those who are not African, or even care about the wellbeing of Africans and Africa, unless it benefits them.

  • Aeschylus O-syfiz Radebe - 2013-11-22 03:54

    Pamberi Zimbabwe!

  • Peter Komane - 2013-11-22 05:18

    Thats a good comand which wil add value to the country, people & investors.

      Amdyn - 2013-11-22 07:03

      No, it's a nice idea - but Zim cannot implement this at this time because it simply doesn't have the required power Infrastructure to keep a refinery going.

  • Gabriel Marupta - 2013-11-22 05:25

    Wrong headline!!!

      Jaku Holland - 2013-11-22 05:27

      Very wrongdoing

  • Raymond Kok - 2013-11-22 05:36

    yep they are getting desperate now ,why would a company build a smelter and give 51% to him and his cronies because none of this will benifit the locals,talking about cutting your nose to spite your face

      Thabo Malema - 2013-11-22 06:13

      Another misinformed individual so let me educate you on how the 51% works 10% ~mine employees 10%~sorrounding communities 10%~BEE consortium 21%~goes to business development fund The cronies propaganda is purely that propaganda, those companies are still mining in Zim ,no investor pulling out story

      Amdyn - 2013-11-22 07:26

      An but Thabo, I wouldn't pull out either. Once the original investment has been made you need to stick it out to try to minimize the effect of the legislation. The reality though is that nobody will invest the money for a refinery because there is no economic return. Go ahead and "ban" platinum exports - the mines WILL close because 1) Zim doesn't have the power required to run a refinery 2) Zim doesn't have enough ounces to justify a refinery 3) And arguing about where the "51%" goes is still weak - 10% Mine employees - ok. 10% surrounding communities ? WHO in those surrounding communities ? 10% BEE Consortium ? WHO in the BEE consortium benefits ? 21% Business Development Fund - WHICH businesses get development funds ? The cronies is NOT propaganda, 41% of your 51% goes into the hands of politically connected people.

      Thabo Malema - 2013-11-22 08:27

      In case you forgot these mining companies pulled out of zim and still went back ,reality here is people scream corruption at the top of their lungs ,while embracing corrupt business ,if platinum is not enough to beneficiate then it shouldnt be enough to mine ,I'm a mine manager and Zimbabwe in this case is telling the truth

  • Themba Khumalo - 2013-11-22 05:59

    Platinium?? Misleading sensationalist heading and generally very poorly written article. You would expect aggregate news posts to do better.

  • Peter Guenther - 2013-11-22 06:07

    Why does he not bann international assistant import?

  • Lawrence Brown - 2013-11-22 06:37

    And the mists of confusion clear...... Zanu PF use the ex ANC condom (Julius) to incite unrest and confusion in the SA Platinum sector and promote the nationalisation thereof. Then the deluded oafs believe the world will come knocking on Zim's door for its platinum needs.....and age old military strategy if divide and conquer.

      Tinashe Magamba - 2013-11-22 13:39

      You "fetch far" neh???...keep at it though, our Nollywood brothers might consider...

  • Danny Letsholo - 2013-11-22 06:54

    I like zimbabwe

      Jacques Nortier - 2013-11-22 06:57

      So go to the idiot country if you like it so much

      Amdyn - 2013-11-22 07:10

      Nobody says you shouldn't.

      Joe Galo - 2013-11-22 07:46

      Then those love western so much why are they still here???

      Danny Letsholo - 2013-11-22 09:06

      Jacques i am an african if u have problem with that go hang youself.

      Tinashe Magamba - 2013-11-22 13:32

      @Danny... We love u too African brother and wish upon you and yours the immeasurable joy that comes with a reconnection to the land of our African Ancestors...

  • Jacques Nortier - 2013-11-22 06:56

    So were are all the Robert lovers now? The idiot is going to take the South African jobs away with this move. Great stuff just another village idiot at play here

  • Bernard Ngwira - 2013-11-22 07:21

    Erratic power supplies how will a Smelter run.

  • Altus Kirsten - 2013-11-22 07:23

    Zimbabwe does not have the electricity capacity to warrant refineries. Rather build electrical power plants to stop stealing power from SA.

  • Joe Galo - 2013-11-22 07:43

    Go zim Go.....funny why some might not like the idea..critise even positive things...they might not have enough electticity and i say SA should support because we heading to the same thing.....

  • Pat Aldrich - 2013-11-22 07:54

    Nothing wrong with the idea. Let them pay the taxes and in this way the country benefit. If 51% is to be given to the government or local shareholders it is fine if they contribute 51% of the erection costa aswell. This is the problem. We receive and you give. Will anybody build a house at own cost and give half to a stranger for the sake of the law?

  • Pat Aldrich - 2013-11-22 07:54

    Nothing wrong with the idea. Let them pay the taxes and in this way the country benefit. If 51% is to be given to the government or local shareholders it is fine if they contribute 51% of the erection costa aswell. This is the problem. We receive and you give. Will anybody build a house at own cost and give half to a stranger for the sake of the law?

  • Jackey Moss - 2013-11-22 07:57

    @Magenta..To build a refinery in Zim would cost $2bn, these mines already had to give up a 51% stake for free and now must fund a $2bn refinery??? And who now perhaps, will have to give up 51% in that refinery for free to !!!Will there be enough power to keep the lights on ? Return on investment ??? I suggest the government builds that with all the profits from the 51% stake that they got for free...

  • JMaree - 2013-11-22 08:00

    So let me get this straight, we bail zim out with taxpayer's money, we need those funds to look after not only our own people but all the people from zim who are facing starvation back home. The zim government repays us by taking our people's jobs, the ones our smelters create?

  • George Slade - 2013-11-22 08:33

    Might just as well Incorporate Zim into RSA ---we willFinance their every need Anyway . The Two Thugs Zoomer Vs Uncle Bob could be fun , although Bob wont be with us much longer !

  • Bernhard Wolf - 2013-11-22 09:44

    Are the Chinese going to join in? They are building the roads, harbours and railways that they can cart the ore from the nations!

  • Mpholo Leboea - 2013-11-22 10:48

    We are so conditioned to a point that we understand every Propaganda. Let Zim do whatever they want in their Country. Viva Mugabe Viva.

  • Stefan Ferreira - 2013-11-23 03:30

    What the hell is platinium?

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