Zimbabwe platinum miners plan base-metal refinery, minister says

Platinum miners in Zimbabwe plan to jointly develop a base-metal refinery in the country, Mines Minister Winston Chitando said.

The processing plant has been under consideration since at least 2014. The project may cost $134 million, the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp. reported in September.

Zimplats Holdings Ltd., Unki PGM Mine and Mimosa Mine have “come up with a joint plan to set up a base metal refinery,” Chitando said in an interview in the southern city of Bulawayo on Friday. He declined to provide further details as a feasibility study has yet to be carried out on the project.

Zimplats is owned by Impala Platinum Ltd., Unki is a subsidiary of Anglo American Platinum Ltd., and Mimosa is jointly owned by Impala and Sibanye Gold Ltd. Zimplats didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment, Mimosa Managing Director Fungai Makoni declined to comment, while calls to Unki Managing Director Walter Nemasasi didn’t connect.

Zimbabwe has the world’s second-largest reserves of platinum, which occurs with base metals including nickel and copper.

(Reporting by Godfrey Marawanyika).