Australasian-based exploration and resource firm TPL Corporation has secured approval from the Zimbabwe Investment Authority to acquire a 70% interest in African Chrome fields.

African Chrome Fields owns several high-grade eluvial chrome deposits and a processing plant located along the Great Dyke, Zimbabwe.

The approval requires TPL to fund all exploration costs, development costs after the start of production and to arrange funding for the subsidiaries.

Farvic Consolidated Mines, the current project owner, will continue to hold a 30% equity stake.

TPL aims to restart the project’s first chrome mine and processing plant within the first quarter of 2014, and to continue a scoping study to build a ferrochrome smelter.

African Chrome Fields and its subsidiary owns about 150 eluvial chrome mining concessions covering around 60km², in six areas along the Great Dyke belt.

TPL said they cover both eluvial and lumpy chrome deposits, although only eluvial deposits have been exploited to date.

The existing plant and equipment is capable of processing 30,000t of feedstock per month to generate 3,000t of chrome concentrate a month.

Following TPL’s receipt of a ZIA Licence to acquire the majority stake, the company intends to progress its application to receive a quota for export fixed tonnage of chrome concentrate.

TPL expects to make its equity investment by 30 June 2014 and provide quarterly updates to the Zimbabwe Investment Authority on the development of the existing assets and future ferrochrome smelter.