Local mining equipment shoddy – Zimplats chief

Eric Chiriga

ZIMBABWE Platinum Mines (Zimplats) says it is importing mining equipment because that produced locally is failing to meet standards.



a, sans-serif”>Zimplats chief executive officer Mike Houston said they considered price and quality before buying their equipment.


“We don’t want products that are necessarily cheap, but those which are priced competitively,” Houston.


He said the equipment and other basic mining implements produced locally do not meet all their requirements.


Houston said the trailers they use for carrying ore are imported because the ones manufactured locally are not suitable for their mining activities.


He said the steel required to manufacture the mining trailers is not even produced locally.


“The steel used to manufacture local trailers is not suitable for mining trailers. After all, the steel used in manufacturing the trailers is imported, so it makes no difference if we import manufactured trailers,” Houston said.


Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd (Implats), the world’s second largest platinum producer, holds an 82% stake in Zimplats.


Corporate Holdings Ltd and Adrian Vanderspuy hold 3,71% and 2,99% shares respectively.


As at December 31 2003 Zimplats had 92 764 489 fully paid up and quoted shares on issue. Zimplats wholly owns Makwiro Platinum Mines, Hartley Platinum, Ngezi Platinum and the Selous Metallurgical Complex.


These operations are within the large platinum deposits on the Great Dyke which constitutes Zimbabwe’s highveld.


Apart from Zimplats, Anglo American Corporation has started exploiting platinum at Unki in Shurugwi.


As the country’s economy continues to shrink, the mining sector has remained firm and continues to grow.


Foreign direct investment is still flowing into the sector as investors are still interested in exploiting mineral deposits in the country.


However, players in the mining sector say the policies being introduced by the government, particularly the exchange rate, are not conducive to profitable investment.