Cyprus-based investment firm Karo Resources has inked a $4.2 billion deal to develop a platinum mine and refinery plant in Zimbabwe and indication that Zimbabwe mining sector is starting to look up after years of mismanagement.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa says the move is an indicator that the country was in the right trajectory.
Construction of the mine and refinery plant is expected to start in July, with the first output of platinum group metals expected in 2020 with plans to reach 1.4 million ounces annually within three years.
Speaking during the signing of the deal, Karo Resources head Loucas Pourolis said that the project will be situated in the Mhondoro-Ngezi platinum belt, west of Harare and it will include a coal mine and power station to produce electricity for the smelter.
“We estimate that when fully operational, the project will be able to employ 15,000 people,” he said.
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On his part, president Mnangagwa assured investors that Zimbabwe was open for business is open for business and cautioned those who were against development in the country.
“Whoever stands in the way, hurting business in this country, will fall. It is not business as usual anymore, things have to change,” Mnangagwa said.
Zimbabwe holds the world’s second-largest platinum deposits after neighbour South Africa but foreign investment had stalled.
Last year,Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) announced that the mining sector is the most attractive investment area going by the number of applications with interest in the sector.
ZIA observed that out of the 153 approved investment proposals in the first 11 months of 2017, 57 of them were in the mining sector representing a combined value of $576 million.
Zimbabwe mining sector was once a major contributor to the economic but years of neglect and mismanagement had brought the sector to a near halt.
In the 19th century, Zimbabwe, with its rich mineral deposits along the Great Dyke belt, attracted a large number of investors who wasted no time in creating mining towns along the dyke. Mnangagwa has pledged to restore the mining sector to its former glory.