Two new platinum players come on board

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TAURAI MANGUDHLA

Two foreign companies are on the verge of concluding multi-billion mega platinum mining deals with Zimbabwe to start extracting the precious metal in the Midlands Province, Business Times has learnt.

The two companies, Todal and Bravura, are expected to seal the deals by end of June with behind the scenes work already at an advanced stage.

Information at hand shows that progress on concluding the deals are being currently delayed by the ongoing International Chromium Development Association (ICDA) conference in Victoria Falls.

Sources at the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) said Government preferred to keep the deals quiet until tangible results were on the table.

“You can try talking to the Ministry of Mines for the details, but I doubt they will give any information on these deals,” said a highly placed source close to all executive decisions at ZMDC.

Although efforts to get an official comment from the Ministry of Mines were fruitless at the time of going to print as major players in the extractive sector converged in the resort town of Victoria Falls for the ICDA event, another source in the ZMDC confirmed the deals were
almost completed.

“The two ventures will be in the form of partnerships with ZMDC, right now the joint venture and specific details are subject to approval at the highest offices in government and also with our partners,” said the source who requested not to be named.

The development comes as a major revamp exercise for government-owned mines, through ZMDC, is ongoing with deliverables already in place in respect of the reopening idle mines.

Government is also pursuing a strategy to grow mining earnings to US$12bn by 2024 from the US$3,2bn realised last year. The 2024 projections, according to Chitando, will have 25 percent contributions from platinum.

A source told Business Times more ZMDC mines are expected to come on line by August as the country moves to maximise its resource utilisation.

Bravura is linked to Nigerian billionaire and oil magnate Benedict Peters. Peters was removed from the Nigerian wanted list on allegations of a number of infractions. Peters had relocated to Ghana and then Congo to pursue other interests. Late 2018, Peters was
awarded a mining licence in Congo under Bravura.

Although information about Todal remained sketchy, previous reports have indicate Todal was sitting on 4 500-hectare of platinum mining claims, around Selukwe on the southern side of the mineral rich Great Dyke.

Todal operated as a subsidiary of Central African Mining and Exploration Company Plc with mining assets and engaging in exploration, mining and production of platinum.

Last year, Karo Mining Holdings came into Zimbabwe with a US$4,5bn project. Karo recently said it is set to complete Phase 1 compre¬hensive mineral exploration works at its Mhondoro-Ngezi, Mashonaland West district concession before the end of this year.

Karo, which has been award¬ed a special grant in Mashonaland West District for an area of 23 902,9 hectares, also plan to set up a refinery and 300 megawatts power plant.

So far, the company has drilled 18,5 kilometers out of the targeted 30km.

Zimbabwe’s platinum producers have been hit by falling prices while costs soar.

Platinum prices on the international market early 2019 hit new lows of about $800 per ounce this week from about $1 100 per ounce in January last year

In 2018, Zimbabwe’s refined platinum supply fell 14 percent to 120 000 ounces.