Karo Mining has reportedly launched its $4.2bn platinum mine, located in the Mhondoro-Ngezi platinum belt in Chegutu, Zimbabwe.
The project comes at a time when the government under President Emmerson Mnangagwa is working on the revival of the country’s economy after the end of his predecessor’s rule that lasted more than three decades.
The government intends to lure foreign companies to invest in the country’s mining sector.
In March this year, the new administration revoked the requirement of mining firms to cease ownership of majority stakes and limited it to only the diamond and platinum sectors.
An agreement was reached with Karo at that time for the development of the integrated platinum project.
Karo holds a 50% interest in the project, while the remaining 50% is held by the Zimbabwe Government.
The company will develop an integrated platinum mining and refinery operation, with the project expected to generate 15,000 direct jobs and 75,000 indirect jobs across the value chain.
The integrated complex will have platinum mining, precious metals and base metals refining.
It has PGM mining rights covering an area of 23,903ha situated on the Great Dyke in the Mashonaland West District of Zimbabwe.
The project is expected to commence production in 2020, with output set to reach up to 1.4 million tonnes of platinum per year by 2023.
Karo chair Loucas Pouroulis said: “We are excited about partnering with Zimbabwe and its people in building a long-term and sustainable business.
“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.”
As part of the project, the company will also set by a 300MW solar power plant, which will be connected to the national grid.
President Mnangagwa said: “This integrated platinum project is one of the numerous investment commitments we have received from potential international investors who have taken bold decisions to invest in Zimbabwe following my declaration that Zimbabwe is open for business.”
Last month, Tharisa closed the acquisition of a 26.8% stake in Karo Holdings to secure access to the platinum group metals (PGM) resource on the Great Dyke.
Tharisa agreed to provide an $8m debt facility to meet the expenses of the initial geological exploration and sampling work to determine a compliant mineral resource.