GPR, Chinese partner revive $1,7bn platinum plan

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Livingstone Marufu
Global Platinum Resources and its Chinese partner, Wanbao Rexco, this week announced plans to revive operations at its 520 million ounces platinum reserves along the Great Dyke belt.

Parties to the $1,7 billion deal are pinning hope for revival of the project, that stalled for 14 years since the establishment of Global Platinum Resources (GPR) in 2004, to the visit by President Mnangagwa to China on a state visit.

The company believes President Mnangagwa’s visit to China is expected to provide impetus for the firm to start exploiting the vast resources before year end. The developments come barely a fortnight after Government penned a $4, 2 billion platinum deal in the Ngezi area with Cyprus based company, Karo Resources.

GPR technical manager Retired Brigadier General Livingstone Chineka, told Business Weekly that though the deal has stalled for years, President Mnangagwa’s successful visit to China would be a game changer.

“It has been over a year now after we completed feasibility studies of the GPR area but nothing tangible has been done thus far with our partners having been promising to start mining next year.

“However, things are expected to change soon as the matter is now in the President’s Office and completing this deal was one of the President’s top priorities when he went to China.

“After the completion of $80 million feasibility studies last year, real exploitation is expected to begin before year end in the Ngezi – Mhondoro area.”

“The deal is expected to be around $1,4 billion and $1,7 billion given the amount of deposits at the area.

Though there were disputes on inflated pre-feasibility and feasibility studies prices among other bitter differences, a new narrative is expected from the partners after a word from the principal (President Mnangagwa).

Wanbao, which was considering to cancel the deal late last year, is expected to come back in the country before year end.

The $4,2 billion investment by Cyprus-based company, Karo Resources is testimony to the growing interest in the lucrative sector.

With interest growing in the platinum sector, it is believed that Wanbao is now working flat out to start operations this year.

GPR is said to have received platinum claims of 86,7 square km which is way bigger than those of Zimplats, Mimosa and Unki mines combined.

The country is expected to mine platinum and other related ores for over 44 years.

GPR is expected to mine over 1,8 million ounces per year, which will be second to Karo’s 3,6 million ounces annually.

GPR, Zimplats and Karo investments are expected to change the dynamics of the country’s economy given the level of platinum deposits in the areas.

If well-handled platinum will be Zimbabwe’s economic game changer.

Zimbabwe holds the world’s second largest deposits of platinum after South Africa and has been pushing mining firms operating in the country to build refineries to stop the export of raw platinum ore to earn more foreign currency.

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