Zimbabwe demands gold, diamonds, platinum, and lithium as mining royalties

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa said a new policy requiring miners to pay half their royalties in raw materials and half in cash will begin this month as the country tries to build stocks of precious metals and minerals for the first time.

The southern African nation will maintain reserves of gold, diamonds, platinum and lithium, Mnangagwa said in his weekly column, published in the Sunday Mail newspaper.

“As of this October, the government now requires a portion of these royalties to come as actual refined mining product in respect of each of the four minerals,” he wrote in the state-owned document. He said the central bank will be the custodian of the reserves, which will be in processed end products, not ore, even if they are processed abroad.

Rich in natural resources

Mining companies operating in Zimbabwe include subsidiaries of Impala Platinum Ltd., Anglo American Platinum Ltd. and Sibanye Gold Ltd. Zimbabwe has the third largest platinum reserves in the world after Russia and South Africa. It also mines nickel, chromium, lithium and coal.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube announced in July that platinum royalties would be doubled to 5% and the same rate would be introduced for lithium, starting in January.

The decision to ask miners to pay part of the levy in refined products will help the government build physical reserves of precious and strategic minerals, while providing some cash for the day-to-day running of state affairs, Mnangagwa said. Reserves can also be used to securitize loans by the government.

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