Zimbabwe Makes PGMs Partnership with Karo Official

- July 24th, 2018

After signing a US$4.2-billion deal in March, the Zimbabwe government and Karo Platinum have made their partnership official.

Zimbabwe and miner Karo Platinum have officially launched their US$4.2-billion platinum project, which aims at increasing long-term sustainability of platinum group metal (PGM) production within the South African country, the parties announced on Tuesday (July 24).  

Success of this joint venture between Zimbabwe’s government and the platinum miner could see PGMs production reach 1.4 million ounces annually, as well as the construction of a refinery, which could produce approximately 2 million ounces of PGMs a year.

“We are excited about partnering with Zimbabwe and its people in building a long-term and sustainable business,” said Karo chairperson Loucas Pouroulis.

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“Zimbabwe has an extraordinary metal and mineral endowment and a vibrant, hard-working, skilled and driven population, which despite the challenges of the last 20 or so years, is now facing an exciting future,” he added.

As part of the partnership, Karo will spend US$8 million on a geological exploration program in order to confirm and delineate the orebody before progressing to the bankable feasibility study.

Chegutu, Zimbabwe is the exact location where the exploration will take place, as it is considered to be a highly prospective area, which is estimated to contain approximately 96-million ounces of PGMs at a projected resource grade of 3.2 grams per tonne on a platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold, or 4E, basis.

Karo will be in charge of the opencast and underground mining of the platinum concession, which is expected to deliver about 14.4 million tons a year for as long as the structure remains in production.

“The scalable nature of the project allows for a staged transition to underground operations at a later date, and material will be processed by Karo Refining,” noted Pouroulis.

Karo Refining will include both a base metal and precious metal refinery, that will use concentration, smelting and refining to produce PGMs.

The integrated mining and refining complex includes the establishment of a 300 megawatts of solar power plant, which will feed power into the Zimbabwean electricity grid and the project has the potential to generate up to 15,000 direct jobs and 75,000 indirect jobs.

This project was originally set in motion back in March, when Zimbabwe signed a US$4.2-billion deal with Cyprus-based Karo Resources to develop the platinum mine and refinery.

Upon initiating the deal, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said, “Zimbabwe is open for business and whoever stands in the way, hurting business in this country, will fall. It is not business as usual anymore, things have to change.”

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Securities Disclosure: I, Nicole Rashotte, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.  

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