Zim eyes US$3bn PGM exports

Platinum Group Metals

ZIMBABWE is targeting to generate US$3 billion from Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) this year, an increase of 36% compared to last year, a government official told businessdigest this week.

PGMs are essential and precious metals, which include platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, osmium and ruthenium.

They are used in several industrial processes, technologies and commercial applications.

Zimbabwe is the third largest PGMs producer in the world after South Africa and Russia.

Major miners, Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Sibanye Stillwater have all maintained a presence in the country.

In an interview with businessdigest, Mines and Mining Development permanent secretary Pfungwa Kunaka said PGM producers had been expanding their operations in the past year.

“This year, we are targeting to rake in US$3 billion from the PGM sector,” Kunaka said. “PGM producers are undertaking a number of expansion projects, with some exploration projects also being undertaken.

“A total of US$2,2 billion was realised from PGMs in 2022, compared to US$2,4 billion in 2021,” he said.

 Kunaka said the thrust was to create various opportunities in the form of beneficiation and value-addition projects that will unlock economic opportunities.

He added that the government set beneficiation taxes of 5% for PGMs concentrate exports and 2,5% for PGMs matte exports in a bid to unlock the potential of the sector.

Last year, Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube doubled the royalty rate the government charges mining companies on PGMs they produce to 5% in a bid to increase government revenues.

While presenting the mid-term budget in parliament in 2021, Ncube said government income from the mining industry was low due to what he called “a generous royalty regime on some major minerals”.

“A royalty rate of 5%, which is in line with other platinum-producing countries in Africa, is proposed effective 1 January 2023,” Ncube said.

He also proposed a 5% royalty rate for lithium, a mineral that is drawing investor interest in Zimbabwe, which holds some of the largest hard-rock lithium deposits in the world.

“For the year, Zimplats is targeting to produce 21 636 kilogrammes of converter matte, Mimosa  is  set to produce  9 333kg of  PGMs  concentrate  and  Unki Mine  is  targeting  7 755,60 kg of matte. New players include Todal, Karo and Bravura,” Ncube said.

According to Kunaka, the third concentrator plant at Zimplats was now operational and indications were that this will increase the volume of PGMs concentrate produced from 144 000 tonnes to 163 000 tonnes per annum.

Unki Mine also completed its concentrator expansion, which will increase concentrator capacity from 179 000 tonnes per month to 210 000 tonnes per month.

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