Russia’s JSC Afromet has exited a platinum mining joint venture once touted to become the biggest mining venture in Zimbabwe, its Zimbabwean state-owned partner said on Thursday, announcing it had taken full control of the project.
JSC Afromet, a unit of Russian businessman Vitaly Machitski’s Vi Holdings, and Zimbabwe’s Kuvimba Mining House each held 50% of Great Dyke Investments, which is developing the Darwendale project.
The mine’s peak output was designed to be 860,000 ounces of platinum group metals (PGM) and gold per year.
“The board of directors of Kuvimba Mining House (KMH) is pleased to announce that KMH has concluded negotiations to purchase 50% of the shares in Great Dyke Investments from Afromet Joint Stock Company,” Kuvimba said in a statement.
It did not disclose how much it had paid for the shareholding. Kuvimba and Zimbabwe government officials were not immediately available to comment.
The Darwendale project was launched by former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe and Russia’s foreign affairs minister Sergey Lavrov in September 2014, but has missed key timelines due to delays in securing funding.
Plans to raise $500 million by the end of 2020 and begin mining during 2021 did not materialise.
The Russian-Zimbabwean project was expected to become the biggest mining venture in the country, where Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum Ltd, and Sibanye Stillwater also mine PGMs.
(By Nelson Banya; Editing by Helen Reid and Elaine Hardcastle)