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Zimbabwe 'open for business,' lands US$4.2B platinum mine investment

Zimbabwean Mines Minister Winston Chitando said the government signed a US$4.2 billion mining investment deal that will see Karo Resources Ltd. developing a platinum mine and refinery, Reuters reported March 22.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the agreement indicates the country is "open for business."

The project was first proposed six years ago but was held back due to bureaucratic issues and "vested corrupt interests," Mnangagwa added.

Chitando said this would be the largest investment structure in the country's mining sector and would change the landscape of the industry in Zimbabwe.

Cyprus-based Karo is expected to start working on the project in July, and with initial output forecast for 2020, ramping up to 1.4 million ounces of platinum group metals annually by 2023.

The project will include a coal mine and power station to supply the smelter and is expected to employ up to 15,000 people when fully implemented, Reuters added, citing Karo chief Loucas Pouroulis.

Pouroulis has more than 50 years of experience in mining exploration, project management, financing and production in open pit and underground mining operations. He worked with Anglo American PLC in South Africa and helped establish Petra Diamonds, Eland Platinum and Tharisa Minerals, Kameni, Keaton Energy and TransAfrika Resources.

Chitando said Karo Resources will fully comply with the recently modified the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act. The revised law allows foreign miners to hold majority stakes in most mining projects, except for diamond and platinum mines.