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Great Dyke eyes raising US$500M for Darwendale PGM project in Zimbabwe

Russian-Zimbabwean joint venture Great Dyke Investments (Pvt.) Ltd. is in advanced talks to secure about US$500 million in funds to build phase one of the Darwendale platinum group metals mining and smelting complex in Zimbabwe.

Great Dyke is a 50-50 joint venture of Afromet JSC, owned by Russia's Vi Holding, and Landela Mining Venture (Pvt.) Ltd., a unit of Zimbabwe's Sotic International Ltd.

Great Dyke tapped African Export-Import Bank in early 2018 to help the company secure funding for the project, according to an Oct. 22 news release. Negotiations with potential South African, Russian and Zimbabwean lenders are ongoing to participate in syndicated funding, with closing targeted by March 31, 2020.

The 3.5 million-tonne-per-annum operation is expected to produce an average of 280,000 ounces per year of PGM and gold during the first phase. A stage-two expansion will increase the throughput capacity to 10.5 mtpa, with production reaching 860,000 ounces per year of PGM and gold.

Great Dyke said Darwendale has a JORC-compliant resource of 181.3 million tonnes of ore containing 17.1 million ounces of PGM and gold at an average grade of 2.93 g/t. Construction is expected to start in the first quarter of 2020. The project is estimated to generate 1,350 jobs during the first phase of development.

New Great Dyke Chairman David Brown, the former CEO of Zimplats Holdings Ltd., said Darwendale has the potential to become a low-cost PGM producer.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa is trying to attract investment to Zimbabwe to help build the economy.

In December 2017, the Zimbabwean government removed a 51% local ownership requirement for most mines other than diamond and platinum operations, and the country's Chamber of Mines has called for the government to deliver on a promise to lift the requirement for those two sectors to help investment sentiment.