Zimbabwe’s Government has suspended a tax of 15% on raw platinum exports after mining companies requested time to set-up smelters and refineries.

In a bid to encourage processing of the metal locally, president Robert Mugabe’s government introduced the levy on unrefined platinum in January.

Zimbabwean Minister of Mines Walter Chidhakwa told the state-owned Herald newspaper that he had presented the request put forward by mining companies to defer the tax in a report to Mugabe’s cabinet, which agreed to it.

"Cabinet allowed the companies be given two years to implement their plans."

Chidhakwa said: "On the strength of that, cabinet allowed that they (companies) be given two years to implement their plans. We are confident that we will ensure that they do so not only in two years, but even within a shorter period."

During a time when the global prices are declining, miners felt that the levy would cut their profit margins.

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum Holdings and Aquarius are some of the major mining companies who own Platinum assets.

In March, Unki Mines a unit of Amplats said that it plans to construct a new smelter in two years in a bid to comply with the government’s demands for companies to process platinum locally.

Implats is in the process of modernising a base metals refinery, which is slated for completion in mid-2016.