President Robert Mugabe and Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov and Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov oversaw the inking of the deal said to be the largest single foreign investment into Zimbabwe’s comatose economy.
The Source reports that at its full capacity planned for 2024, the mine would treat almost 10 million tons of ore annually to produce 800,000 platinum ounces. This would see Zimbabwe’s annual output reaching over one million ounces.
Zimbabwe’s Pen East Investments had teamed up with Afronet, a consortium of three Russian partners, to form Great Dyke Investments, which was developing the Darwendale project. Russia’s Vneshecombank is lead financier, while Rostec would be the technical partner.
“The advent of the Russians in Zimbabwe’s platinum scene will bring an additional 250,000 ounces to our current output of 430,000 ounces within the next 36 months,” Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa was quoted as saying.
The mine had a lifespan of 20 years, with potential to reach 34 years on further exploration and would see the Darwendale concession on 217 million tonnes of high grade ore.
The first stage of the mine, expected to start this year to 2017, involved a $600 million open pit mine, with a projected output of 265,000 oz per annum, reports The Source.