The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Platinum Producers' Body Launched

THE Chamber of Mines Zimbabwe has set up a platinum producers' body - the Platinum Producers Committee - that will cater for the specific interests of miners in this sub-sector. Chamber of Mines president Mr Winston Chitando said the committee would deal with critical issues affecting the local platinum sector.

"It is responsible for drawing attention of the chamber to any issues pertinent to the mining, extraction, processing and marketing of platinum and platinum related minerals. These could be of interest or significance to platinum producers and the mining sector as a whole, or to some of its members," he said.

"The committee will also evaluate policy and the legislative frameworks as well as strategic issues relating to the platinum sector as well as carrying out research on regional and international best practices as this relates to the sector."

Apparently, the body will play a similar role to that being played by the Platinum Association of Zimbabwe.

According to the Chamber, the committee is essentially a sub-committee of the Chamber of Zimbabwe's executive committee, and was formed in terms of section 76 of the Constitution of the Chamber.

Since it is a sub-committee, it derives its funding from the chamber. Zimbabwe's mining sector, which has the second largest reserves of platinum in the world after South Africa, faces a number of challenges relating to erratic electricity supplies, constrained sources of affordable long-term funding and high taxes.

Meanwhile, figures from the Chamber of Mines show that the country's platinum output for the nine months of the year stood at 280 000 ounces.

The figures show that platinum production during the period under review has so far increased by an additional 80 000 ounces compared to last year's total output of 200 000 ounces.

During the same period the platinum sector accounted for 30 percent of the US$1,5 billion in export receipts.

Platinum's contribution to export receipts was second to gold which contributed 55 percent to minerals export receipts. This is on the back of firming global prices for the mineral.

For instance in September, platinum prices rallied to their highest level reaching US$1 696 per ounce during the second week of that month.

This was largely attributed to disruption of mining activities at South Africa's Lonmin Plc's Marikana mine, which accounts for about 10 percent of global output.

Zimbabwe's platinum output is this year projected to reach 320 000 ounces.

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