Reports of Mugabe's death are greatly exaggerated

Reuters reports chief spokesman for Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party said on state television that widely circulated reports that the 88-year old were fighting for his life in a Singapore hospital were "lies meant to destabilise Zimbabwe."

Mugabe, who is 88, has been "the subject of several health scares in recent years, with some reports saying he has prostate cancer, but in February interviews with state media he laughed off suggestions that he was seriously ill," reports Reuters.

Mugabe is a survivor even by African dictator standards. He has been in charge of the former Rhodesia since it gained independence from Britain in 1980. Mugabe serves as president and rival Morgan Tsvangirai is prime minister in a fragile unity-government established three years ago, but the former is widely believed to be keeping a firm grip on power through the Zanu-PF aligned military.

After more than a decade of sanctions Zimbabwe has been opening up its resource sector to investors amid a controversial law forced through parliament by Mugabe demanding 51% ownership of all foreign-owned mines operating in the country under its so-called indigenization laws.

Last week Zimbabwe announced all mining companies that have not complied with the laws will now simply be deemed to be majority-owned by the state.

Apart from gold, coal and some of the world's largest diamond fields, Zimbabwe has the second largest deposits of platinum after South Africa.

According to the British Geological Survey (BGS) platinum is second on the list of the 52 elements, minerals and metals most at risk of supply disruption because global production is concentrated in a few countries.