By Martin Kadzere
Great Dyke Investments (GDI) has selected Egypt-based Afreximbank as the lead arranger for a $2 billion loan to finance development of its precious metals mine and smelter in Darwendale, west of Harare, chairperson Dr Resphina Rukato has said.
Dyke, a joint mining venture between Russia and Zimbabwe, expects to produce up to 10 million tonnes of platinum group metals (PGMs) and 27 tonnes of gold per year.
Extensive geological exploration of the deposit and comprehensive technological research have proven existence of PGM reserves at the internationally established joint ore resources committee (JORC) levels of 17,6 million ounces or 550 tonnes of PGMs and gold with the subsequent potential PGMs increase to 44 million ounces (1 375 tonnes).
“Afreximbank has been engaged as the authorised arranger for this project,” said Dr Rukato.
The site establishment works have started while the infrastructure for project development is already in place on the site of the proposed ore mining and processing complex, she said
This entails roads, core storage and logging facilities, residential and an administration camp with more than 2 000 square meters of residential and office space.
The project is expected to create about 8 000 jobs for highly skilled workers at full capacity. GDI has already spent about $60 million on pre-construction phases. A total of $2 billion is needed to develop the mine to full capacity, of which $400 million is for the first phase.
“It is obvious that, as a project included in the regular Russia-Zimbabwe intergovernmental agenda, the Darwendale project deepens Russia-Zimbabwe relations. The fact that the project was granted a special mining lease and national project status attests to this fact,” said Dr Rukato.
Matters related to work safety, environmental protection and efficiency of production have been worked out; requisite tests have been carried out while tentative agreements on the sales of marketable products have already been signed.
A team of experts and the contractors with global experience and expertise in the construction of similar ore mining and processing plants are also taking part in the project.
Among them are DRA (South Africa) that has made the BFS for the project; MSA Group (South Africa), TOMS (Russia), Metallicon (South Africa) and Loesche (Germany)
Analytical support is rendered by SFA Oxford (Great Britain), leading consultant in PGM market research. PwC is responsible for the drafting of audited financial statements.
Cresco Project Finance and Ernest and Young have been engaged as financial consultants.