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Platinum miners mull shared smelting plant

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Zimbabwe’s platinum mining companies are seriously considering constructing a “shared” local smelter, Business Times can report.

There are three platinum miners operating in Zimbabwe namely Mimosa Mining Company, Zimplats and Unki.

Mimosa Mining Company general manager, Stephen Ndiyamba yesterday revealed the plan at a tour of the Zvishavane operations.

“The position we have taken is that where there are in-country processing facilities, we are prepared to join in and combine with others so that we process internally. As you might know, there are other organisations that are currently looking at setting up a smelter now, and there are discussions at various levels, the board and shareholder levels to see how we can combine forces and also send our concentrates for in-country processing,” Ndiyamba said.

He ruled out the possibility of Mimosa setting up its own smelter, stating that the life span of the miner’s deposits could not enable returns on investing in installing a smelter at the mine for local processing.

“What is left on the ground is 10 years on South Hill and if we develop the North Hill shaft that I was telling you about, we get another 12 years. If you take a life of 22 years and then you invest US$100m in a smelter, it`s not time enough for you to recover that investment. So, from a business point of view, you don`t then recover that capital investment,” Ndiyamba said.

He said it would be more sustainable for the miner to send its concentrates to another company`s smelter as it would only incur treatment fees.

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