by Rudo Saungweme
President Emmerson Mnangagwa will officially commission a US$ 63 million Platinum Smelter and Crush Plant at Unki mine in Shurugwi on 12 December, 2018 this week. The development comes at a time Government is making strides towards domestic platinum value addition so as to ensure increased economic earnings from the country`s vast mineral resources.
The opening of the smelting and crushing plant by Unki mine is in line with The Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) announced by Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube on 5 October 2018.TSP targets to reopen closed mines, revive mines which are operating below capacity, open new mines, promote beneficiation and value addition through domestic smelting and refining and to increase earnings from mineral resources.
Minister of Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando highlighted that beneficiation and value addition of minerals before export is one of the 4 key pillars of Zimbabwe`s goal to create value, employment and accelerated industrial development from its largely unexploited mineral resources.
Residents in Shurugwi have applauded the development indicating that the opening of the plant will not only be of a benefit to the country through earning the much needed foreign currency but the locals in Shurugwi will also benefit through the creation of employment.
Esnath Chari who resides in Nhema said, “The construction of the Platinum Smelter and Crusher Plant started on 16 April 2018 and was completed on 17 August 2018.This plant has created jobs for us locals. We really thank the Government in power for their policies that support our local industries.”
Zimbabwe has the world`s second-largest resource of platinum group of metals (PGMs).Platinum is the third largest foreign currency earner for Zimbabwe after tobacco and gold.