Zimbabwe waves use it or lose it stick on big platinum project

Mines Minister Winston Chitando
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IN A BID to boost the mining sector by expanding production of metals such as platinum and chrome, Zimbabwe is following up on projects that have not yet become operational and curbing exports of unprocessed minerals.

The Eurasian Resources Group owned Todal-Bokai Platinum Project, located next to Anglo Platinum-ran Unki mine, has been targeted, with cabinet directing Mines Minister Winston Chitando to follow up on the company to ensure it springs up into production.

A former executive with Mimosa mine – jointly owned by Implats and Sibanye Stillwater – Chitando is President Emerson Mnangagwa’s point-man in efforts to bump the mining sector to a $12 billion (R190bn) industry.

However, owing to Zimbabwe’s risk operating environment, there will be no new outside capital, according to a chamber of mines survey.

Mnangagwa’s administration is keen to see companies holding mining claims develop them into productivity. The Todal-Bokai Platinum Project is one such operation that the government wants to jump into productivity.

“Cabinet also considered the need to get the Todal-Bokai Platinum Project next to Unki Mine into production as soon as possible so that it contributes to the $12 billion mining industry milestone,” notes a post-cabinet report released on Tuesday.

It further reads: “The Minister of Mines and Mining Development was also tasked to follow up on the issue accordingly.”

Zimbabwe has a strict use it or lose it policy on platinum mining claims, which has previously seen Zimplats lose nearly half of its claims.

Eurasia Group describes the Todal-Bokai Platinum Project as a “semi brownfield project” pivoted on an “asset (that) has well-developed infrastructure and a significant resource base that could support a 40-year” life of mine.

“Advancing this project is a priority undertaking for us,” says the company on its website. It also says that it welcomes partnerships “to unlock the resource potential” of its portfolio of assets.

Tharisa is another platinum group metals-focused firm that is eyeing development of Zimbabwe assets. It recently announced that “two phases of exploration drilling have been completed” over its project area in Zimbabwe.

On October 12, Tharisa announced that the Karo Platinum implementation studies had been completed, ensuring that the project progressed into “execution and development”.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has also resolved “to continue with the ban (on raw ferrochrome exports)”. It noted the ban on export of chrome ores had yielded an increase in ferrochrome production projects.