October 22, 2019 / 12:30 PM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Russia-Zimbabwe Great Dyke Investments needs $500 mln for phase 1 of platinum mine

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HARARE, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Russian-Zimbabwean joint venture Great Dyke Investments (GDI) said on Tuesday it required a further $500 million for the first phase of its Zimbabwean platinum mining project and was in advanced talks with Russian and South African lenders for syndicated financing.

Russia’s Vi Holding, through its JSC Afromet subsidiary, owns half the shares in GDI, while Zimbabwe’s Landela Mining Venture (Pvt) Ltd owns the rest.

The venture, which had initially earmarked $400 million for the first phase of the project, aims for the mine to start production in 2021 and at its peak produce 860,000 ounces of platinum group metals and gold per year.

Zimbabwe is seeking to quickly exploit its reserves of platinum, which is used in catalytic converters to limit emissions, at a time when vehicle manufacturers are boosting production of electric cars powered by lithium batteries.

GDI said in a statement that its lead financial arranger African Export-Import Bank was targeting financial closure for the syndicated funding by March 31, 2020.

“Advanced negotiations are currently underway with a number of South African, Russian and Zimbabwean financial institutions to participate in the syndicate providing funds for equipment, machinery and services procurement,” GDI said.

GDI was also finalizing contractual terms with foreign and local contractors, suppliers and service providers.

Anglo Platinum and Impala Platinum Holdings already mine platinum in Zimbabwe. Impala also owns a joint-venture mine with Sibanye-Stillwater.

Karo Mining Holdings, which is part-owned by South Africa’s Tharisa Plc plans a $4.2 billion platinum mining venture, while Bravura, owned by Nigerian billionaire Benedict Peters was given a concession to explore for platinum in May. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Susan Fenton and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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