Zimplats considers setting up metals refinery

IMPALA Platinum's Zimbabwe unit Zimplats Holdings is considering setting up a metals refinery in the country, where it plans a R3,8billion mine expansion, it said yesterday.

IMPALA Platinum's Zimbabwe unit Zimplats Holdings is considering setting up a metals refinery in the country, where it plans a R3,8billion mine expansion, it said yesterday.

Zimbabwe has the world's second-largest platinum reserves after South Africa, but has no metals refinery. Zimplats, which is majority owned by South Africa's Implats, the world's second-ranked platinum producer, said it was committed to Zimbabwe despite uncertainty brought about by Zimbabwe's plan to transfer majority ownership in foreign firms to local people, including mines.

The company said in a statement: "Zimplats remains fully committed to the development of its resource base for the benefit of the country and all its stakeholders.

"In addition, Zimplats is also considering large-scale investment that will result in the establishment of refinery facilities in the country."

The empowerment law, passed in 2007 by President Robert Mugabe's government, seeks to transfer majority shareholding in foreign firms, including mines and banks, to local black people.

However, sharp divisions have emerged in a power-sharing government Mugabe set up last year with long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai, who is now prime minister.

Tsvangirai opposes the law, which he says scares away investors and threatens the economy's fragile recovery. - Reuters

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