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Platinum revenues beneficiation to drive Zim 3,5% growth forecast

Story by Stanley James, Business Editor

ECONOMIC experts say platinum sector revenue inflows which have been boosted by the establishment of beneficiation plants will be key in the attainment of the country’s annual three percent economic growth.

The local platinum mining industry has been cited as key in economic growth, emerging as the second foreign currency earner after gold.

Experts are, however, concerned over the continuous reliance of raw platinum exports that are prejudicing the economy of the much-needed revenues.

With official data showing an 18% slump in global commodity prices for platinum since December last year, the country’s largest miner, Zimplats, has also posted a loss for the first time in its six months trading duration ending December 2023.

As the platinum sector has also submitted growth plans for this year to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, experts contend that Zimbabwe’s economy can realise maximum potential from platinum by adding value to the commodity.

There is a general consensus that by sending raw platinum to South Africa, Zimbabwe’s economy is losing growth potential on taxes, jobs and export receipts.

“It is imperative to note that subdued demand for the metal has done more harm than good to the viability of the platinum mining sector value chains, what is now needed is the ability to focus on beneficiation of the commodity.

“Yes, projects can be expanded but it is all about whether the gains are translating into full potential for the people to derive benefits from the exploration and mining of the commodity. So, indeed, a rethink and review of the entire aspect becomes imperative,” said the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Commerce at Bindura University of Science Education, Dr Zachary Tambudzai.

Development economist, Dr Prosper Chitambara said, “The fact that Zimbabwe is among the top five producers of the commodity should in itself be taken seriously in terms of facilitating the overall growth of the industry, but, like what is happening right now then it means viability becomes a challenge but since the trend is cyclical, there is that basis for the sector in the long term to realise good returns. So, while value addition takes centre stage, the key element hinges on the long-term forecasts on how to reap good returns that can translate into profits and also benefit the entire nation.”

With Zimbabwe being among the top five platinum-producing countries in the world, experts contend more revenue can be realised towards economic growth if the government monitors the implementation of projects, utilisation of export receipts, enhanced exploration and the sector’s ability to contribute towards socio-economic development.

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