The government will meet with Bravura, a company owned by Nigerian billionaire Benedict Peters, over delays to a platinum project in Selous.
“We are meeting them later this week” and are “worried,” Deputy Mines Minister Polite Kambamura was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.
Bravura was awarded a 3,000-hectare concession in Selous in 2019. But Peters, say industry sources, is now more focused on taking over a lithium concession in Kamativi.
While Bravura’s parent company Aiteo is a major energy player, it has no platinum experience. The company only branched out into mining in 2017 after winning a mining licence in the DRC. None of its mine assets have entered the development phase. It is also the first time that Bravura has tried to mine platinum.
In 2020, Bravura claimed that it had raised US$1 billion to develop the new platinum mine at the Serui concession. The company had also said that it was spending US$50 million on exploration. Bravura at the time set itself an ambitious target to start mine construction within 18 months, but has given no further updates on progress.
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.
Zimbabwe has the world’s second-largest reserves of platinum, which occurs with base metals including nickel and copper. However, the country has not converted much of this resource into mineable reserves due to low investment.