GOVERNMENT has suspended plans to effect a 15 percent tax on raw platinum exports by January 2022 following commitment by platinum mines to set up credible refinery plants and capital inflows within the sector.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said this in an interview with ZBCtv on Monday.
According to the State broadcaster, Minister Chitando said:
“We no longer have that idea (to effect 15 percent tax on raw platinum exports) in mind taking into consideration the situation on the ground.”
In the past, the Government intended to introduce the 15 percent tax on raw platinum exports to compel mining firms to promote beneficiation of the mineral as it had been noted that the country was losing a lot of revenue through exporting unprocessed platinum.
In May this year, President Mnangagwa commissioned a $62 million platinum smelting plant at Unki Mine in Shurugwi.
Construction of the processing plant commenced in 2016 as the platinum producer heeded Government’s call for value addition and beneficiation of the country’s natural resources.
The smelting plant, which consumes more than 11 megawatts, would see Unki processing about 623 000 tonnes of platinum concentrate annually.
Following Government’s call for platinum producers to promote beneficiation, Zimbabwe’s only three operating platinum miners, Unki, Mimosa Mining Company in Zvishavane and Zimplats in Mhondoro-Ngezi agreed to set up platinum refineries at their respective mining sites while at the same time mobilising resources together to construct a bigger processing plant at Zimplats.
The agreement to construct the bigger plant expected to cost about US$300 million, was signed between Government and the three platinum mining companies in May 2017.
The local platinum sector is expected to play a key role in economic revival of the nation.
Meanwhile, demand for platinum is expected to spike after Unki Mine’s parent company, Anglo American Platinum and Platinum Group of Metals launched a next generation battery technology that uses platinum and palladium.
The new venture, Lion Battery Technologies, is expected to boost the development of battery technologies using the precious minerals.
In sync with this, Lion, has entered into an agreement with Florida International University to further advance a research programme that uses platinum and palladium to unlock the potential of Lithium Air and Lithium Sulfur battery chemistries to increase their discharge capacities and cyclability. —ZBCtv/Business Chronicle