Kuvimba pumps US$100m into Great Dyke platinum project


GREAT Dyke Investments (GDI), which is developing a platinum mining project in Darwendale, says it has pumped close to US$100 million into the mega project as it prepares to kick-start operations.

State-owned Kuvimba Mining House (KMH) assumed full control of the mine after Russian firm Afromet, a joint venture partner in the project, withdrew as a result of Western countries' global sanctions against Russia, which also apply to Russian investments abroad.

Afromet is fully owned by Vi Holding, a Russian investment and industrial group.

The joint venture partners had stakes of 50% each in GDI.

GDI mining project leader and chief operating officer Munashe Shava told journalists on Friday during a tour of the mine that they will not look for foreign investors.

“I think you are all aware that the Russian and Ukraine issue brought in a new dimension to the project because the other joint venture partner were Russians and obviously with what was happening, they had to pull out of the project,” he said.

“So, a strategy has been put in place to recommence the project and that's what we are working on and very soon we should be back on the ground. Everything is actually in place. So far in the project we have put almost close to US$100 million.”

Shava said the estimated capital for the whole project was US$500 million.

“What we looked at, for your own information, this project is now valued at over US$2,5 billion and with the mine life of over 50-60 years,” he said.

“When you look at it, the approach now is to say ‘let’s find our own resources to develop this project because it doesn’t make sense to bring in Chinese, Americans or whoever who has got money to come in and get into a project of this magnitude and also come in and bring in their new conditions,’” the project leader said.

“So, that's the thinking. At the moment, we are not looking at any foreign investors. We want to organically develop the project.”

He said the project was one of the best in the country looking at its proximity to Harare, high quality of the geology, and low cost.

“It’s a shallow deposit unlike when you talk of other mines in South Africa you have to go kilometres. You can do mechanised mining which is very safe and straightforward.

He added: “This project presents itself to a mechanised operation. So, that’s why we regard this one as one of the best and in terms of output, the plant capacity which is what we push for, is 3,5 million tonnes of ore processing.”

Located in the Great Dyke area, the mine is considered to be among the biggest platinum group metals (PGMs) deposits in the world. It is situated nearly 65 kilometres from Harare.

The Darwendale platinum project is estimated to contain 181,3 million tonnes measured and indicated ore resources grading 1,60g/t of platinum and 2,93g/t of 4E (platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold), containing 17,1 million ounces of PGMs and gold.

It was launched in 2014.

KMH, which has extensive interests in gold, nickel, lithium, chrome, and platinum, is 65% owned by the government.

It has bought several businesses since its founding, including BNC, Shamva Mine, Jena Mine, Sandawana Mine, Tiger and Club, Globe and Phoenix and Zimbabwe Alloys, among others.

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