Cypriot mining company Karo Resources, also known as Karo Mining Holdings, is to begin a platinum mining operation in central Zimbabwe, with an expected investment of $4.2 billion in order to assess the land, establish the mine, and begin operations.
The company already operates around the Great Dyke area, northwest of the capital Harare, and is now expanding its operations to the Mhondoro-Ngezi area about two hours southwest of the city.
President Mnangagwa met with the financiers of the project at his Munhumutapa offices in Harare. The Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), who are providing $2 billion for the platinum mining development, were introduced by Loucas Pouroulis, the chairman of Karo Resources.
Karo’s plan is a combination of initial geophysics tests to assess the ground, as well as aerial observations from plane, helicopter, and drones in order to get a wider overview of the terrain and look for clues as to where platinum may have a greater deposit.
Samaila Zubairu, President and Chief Executive of the AFC, said in a statement: “We are committed to supporting the project fully. The project is in phases – the first phase is $2 billion. The way projects work is that you start from a particular point and then you build on as you go.
“Typically, sometimes when you start with maybe $400 million you can get capital and retain it from the business and continue. You start the project, develop some revenue from the project, reinvest it and get all the partners to join you.
“As the project continues to develop, we will continue to re-invest in the project and mobilise additional capital to invest in the project.”
Work is expected to begin next July, with operations commencing in 2020. Platinum output is estimated at 350,000 ounces by the Cypriot firm. This is forecast to grow drastically to 1.4 million ounces by 2023. The decision to finance a mine is estimated to create around 90,000 jobs for residents in the region, with 15,000 direct employees working at the mine and on-site refinery, and a further 75,000 in connection with the work done at the Mhondoro-Ngezi site.