Drillings stops at Bravura’s Ngezi platinum project

26 Aug, 2022 - 00:08 0 Views
Drillings stops at Bravura’s Ngezi platinum project A minerals exploration rig at work

eBusiness Weekly

Nelson Gahadza

Bravura Consortium, which is exploring platinum deposits near Zimplats in Ngezi, has reportedly halted drilling after the investor stopped releasing funds for the project amid allegations of funds abuse, according to a highly placed source in the firm.

The consortium, a multi-national mining house registered in the Republic of Dominica, and is domiciled in Ghana, with subsidiaries in Nigeria, DRC, Guinea and Zimbabwe, started exploration works in July 2019, but along the way was disrupted by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

In Zimbabwe, through a mining agreement signed in 2019, the group pledged to spend more than US$50 million to explore and mine platinum.

The country is seeking to exploit its reserves of platinum which is primed to contribute at least US$3 billion under the US$12 billion mining industry strategy.

“Information is that the investor has not been sending money citing abuse of funds by the current administration with drillers having been sent home for over three months now due to lack of funding for drilling consumables, despite not having finished drilling,” said the source that cannot be revealed for professional reasons.

Contacted for comment, Lionel Mhlanga, the group’s country manager told Business Weekly that the company has finished the drilling and is awaiting confirmation of the resource by a competent evaluator.

“Bravura Selous Platinum project is at the resource evaluation stage and now moving on to evaluating mining options.

“This follows the completion of phase 3 of exploration drilling, sample analysis and resource confirmation by an independent competent person (SRK),” he said.

He added that the phase ordinarily was scheduled to take 36 months but through an ex celartaed drilling campaign, 47000 meters of drilling was achieved by a fleet of 5 rigs over a period of 12 months and analysis took close to 6 months.

“The competent person is finalising the resource confirmation and this is expected within the third quarter of 2022,” said Mhlanga.

He added that within this same quarter Bravura has started desk based modelling and mine studies scoping level design and a fleet of mine start-up equipment has been acquired to start mine access by the first quarter 2023.

He noted that the envisaged operation will be an underground mine working from tow portals targing annual production of 2,8 mt per annum of platinum ore.

The Bravura project sits on a 3 000 hectare space and to date the company as of 2020 had drilled 15 holes. Initial indications then showed 3Elments including gold grades of 3,3 grammes per tonne.

Globally, there has been a growing demand for platinum for use in catalytic converters to limit emissions as car manufacturer’s shift to making electric cars powered by lithium batteries.

The Government believes that the growing demand bodes well with the country’s vision to shore up platinum production.

According to Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, the Bravura project adds to other new platinum projects such as that of Karo Resources and the Great Dyke Investments, which are aimed at contributing to the US$12 billion milestone.

Bravura is expected to eventually sink more than US$250 million in platinum related investments in Zimbabwe as part of the deal.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Vi Holding has since quit its involvement in Zimbabwe’s Great Dyke Investments platinum company with the Russian company having already ceded its 50 percent stake in the company to Zimbabwe’s Kuvimba Mining House Ltd.

Zimbabwe’s state mining vehicle, Kuvimba Mining House Ltd plans to make further mining acquisitions, according to the Treasury.

The Darwendale Platinum project is estimated at a cost of about US$3 billion to develop and become Zimbabwe’s biggest platinum mine.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov launched the US$3 billion Russian project back in 2014, after years of negotiations.

The project, where production is projected to peak at 800 000 ounces yearly, was previously a consortium consisting of the Rostekhnologii State Corporation, Vneshekonombank and Vi Holding in a joint venture with some private Zimbabwe investors as well as the Zimbabwean government.

Zimbabwe launched the Strategic Road to the Achievement of $12 billion by 2023 in October 2019 as part of the broader macroeconomic roadmap towards an Upper Middle-Income Economy by 2030 which Chitando has affirmed that the government is on track to achieve the milestone.

The multi-billion-dollar industry will be driven by gold, platinum, diamond, chrome, iron ore, coal, lithium, and other minerals.

The background of mineral contribution to the US$12 billion is that US$4 billion will come from gold, US$3 billion in platinum, US$1 billion in diamonds, US$1 billion in coal, US$1 billion in chrome, ferrochrome and carbon steel, half a billion in lithium and US$1,5 billion in other minerals, making it US$12 billion.

The artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) are also expected to play an important role towards the mining milestone with sector player’s committing to contribute US$4 billion by the targeted period.

Currently, various projects running into billions of US dollars, largely financed by the private sector, are at different stages of implementation, with the Government facilitating the ease of doing business to encourage investments in the sector.

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