Platinum output to hit 50 tonnes in 12 yrs

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Chamber of Mines acting CEO Isaac Kwesu

Tawanda Musarurwa

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s platinum production is expected to rise to 50 tonnes annually over the next years, on the basis of a number of ongoing expansion and green-field projects line up in the sector, the Chamber of Mines Zimbabwe has said.

Zimbabwe has the second largest known platinum reserves in the world after neighboring South Africa.

The country’s platinum producers include Zimbabwe Platinum Holdings, Mimosa Platinum and Unki Platinum. And they are all headquartered in South Africa.

But within this mining subsector, optimism is being driven by deal agreed earlier this year that will saw a Cypriot investor signing $4, 2 billion deal on to develop a platinum mine and refinery in the country.

“In terms of the platinum sector, we are targeting in the next 12 years 50 tonnes from the current 16 tonnes,” said Chamber of Mines acting CEO Isaac Kwesu.

However for the interim, the World Platinum Council Investment Council (WPIC) has projected that Zimbabwe should see a stabilisation in output, at least, this year.

“Supply from North America and Zimbabwe should remain stable in 2018, at 370 koz and 450 koz respectively, while production from Russia could fall by around 4 percent to 685 koz as further refinery upgrade work may result in a small pipeline lock-up, ” said WIPC.

Meanwhile, the Chamber of Mines also expects an upturn in the levels of production some other critical minerals going forward.

“We are targeting the upside of gold, to as much as 100 tonnes in the next five years, depending on accessing the funding that it required.

“We are most likely to produce about 30 tonnes this year, which means we will be able to surpass our peak gold production recorded in 1999 of circa 27 tonnes,” said Kwesu.

“And in the next 12 years we are going to treble gold production, which will require significant levels of funding during the period.”

The highest level history of gold production was reached in 1999 at 27, 1 tonnes, while the lowest level was recorded in 2008 at 3, 5 tonnes.

Official figures show that the country’s gold output increased to 24, 8 tonnes last year from 22 tonnes in 2016, and 20 tonnes in 2015, reflecting an incremental growth.

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