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Zimbabwe granting platinum concession to firm linked to Nigerian billionaire

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Zimbabwe granting platinum concession to firm linked to Nigerian billionaire

Bavura Holdings will sign an agreement to explore for and mine platinum on Zimbabwe's Great Dyke, a metal-bearing geological feature extending about 500 kilometers, as the government works to exploit the country's platinum reserves and attract mining investment, Reuters reported May 23, citing the information ministry.

A major shareholder in Bavura Holdings is Nigerian businessman Benedict Peters, the founder of integrated energy company Aiteo Ltd. The information ministry did not give further details on the deal granting a mineral concession, expected to be signed May 23.

Zimbabwe's mines minister Winston Chitando said last month that two mining ventures in the same region would be confirmed in the next few weeks. Chitando was speaking at a function where Cypriot investor Karo Resources was providing an update on its US$4.2 billion platinum project in the area.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa scrapped a 51% local ownership requirement for most mines in December 2017, but the rule remains in place for diamond and platinum projects, with the Zimbabwe Mining Council pressuring the government to remove it. A clause requiring mining companies to list on the Zimbabwe exchange was also removed in mid-2018.

Zimbabwe and Russia signed an agreement in April to build a platinum-producing mine in Darwendale near Harare. Russia's Vi Holding has a 50% interest in project operator Great Dyke Investments (Pvt.) Ltd., with the remainder held by unnamed Zimbabwean investors.

Also, mining platinum group metals in Zimbabwe are Anglo American Platinum Ltd., which recently opened a US$62 million smelter at its Unki operation, and the Mimosa joint venture comprising Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. and Sibanye Gold Ltd.