Bravura Holdings, owned by Nigerian billionaire Benedict Peters, says it has raised US$1 billion to develop a new platinum mine at the Serui concession, where it has begun work to quantify the resource.
The company has set an ambitious target to start mine construction within 18 months. The mine will sit on the 3,000-hectare concession on the Great Dyke, which hosts other platinum mines.
“From where we are now, we will go to resource definition, after that we will go to resource modelling, after mine development and then mine construction,” says Lionel Mhlanga, Bravura’s manager, during a tour of the site. “Those are all things that should happen in the next 18 months.”
Bravura is a unit of Peters’ Aiteo, Nigeria’s biggest domestic oil producer. Peters, said to have a net worth of US$2.7 billion, is seeking new frontiers away from oil.
While Bravura holds a bank of concessions in the DRC, including copper and cobalt claims, this would be the first time that any of its mine assets have entered the development phase. It is also Bravura’s first platinum project.
Bravura has plans to explore Zimbabwe’s lithium, rare earth minerals and tin, Mhlanga said
Last year, Bravura said it would spend US$50 million on exploration.
“Our group has availed a billion dollars from in-house sources for the development of this project and we are very pleased that we are working non-stop,” Mhlanga said.
While the company claims to have raised $1 billion, it has so far only drilled 15 holes totalling 5 000 metres and is targeting 15 000 metres by year-end. This process is meant to determine the resources underground, which is usually the data that miners need to raise funding.
After the current stage, Bravura will then move into the design and development phase. A box cut, the first stage of excavation for a mine, is planned for mid-next year.
For Bravura, developing the mine will be no easy task. The PGM deposits at Hartley have in the past proved to be notoriously complex to mine, even for experienced miners.
The site is not without controversy. The Serui claims were once held by Amari Holdings, a British Virgin Islands-based company. In 2007, the company formed platinum and nickel ventures with ZMDC. However, these were cancelled by the government in 2010, drawing a lawsuit from Amari.