Implats discusses building a base-metal refinery in Zimbabwe

Impala Platinum's Rustenburg mine. (Gallo)

Impala Platinum's Rustenburg mine. (Gallo)

Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa says he is holding "interesting discussions" with Impala Platinum about building a base-metal refinery in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwean Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa said has he held "interesting discussions" with Impala Platinum Holdings chairperson Khotso Mokhele on building a base-metal refinery in the country.

"They have got ideas which we are beginning to consider as well," Chidakwa told reporters in Harare on Thursday, without commenting further.

Zimbabwe wants the world's biggest platinum producers to build a refinery to help kick-start the recovery of its economy, which contracted by 40% between 2000 and 2008.

Units of companies, including Impala and Anglo American Platinum, would be compelled to send their ore to the plants, according to a January 3 letter to producers.

The country is the largest holder after South Africa of reserves of the metal, which is used in catalytic converters that reduce vehicle emissions and to create jewellery.

Impala's Zimplats unit, the country's top producer, submitted proposals to the government that remain under discussion, said Johan Theron, a spokesperson for the Johannesburg-based company, on Thursday.

The plans will be made public if they lead to an agreement, he said. "Our discussions definitely are constructive." – Bloomberg

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