Karo Mining starts exploration drilling, seeks power generation licence

(pic: Sunday Times)

Karo Mining, which is developing a platinum project at Mhondoro-Ngezi, says drilling contractors have moved in and started an exploration programme to define the platinum resource at its 23 903 hectare mining site.

Karo, in which the Tharisa group has a 26.8% shareholding, is part of a joint venture with the government to mine platinum on the mineral-rich Great Dyke complex. The company broke ground on the site last year, pledging

In an update on Wednesday, Karo said its prospectus had now been approved by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), and the final environmental impact assessment is now being prepared for approval.

“In the last quarter of 2018, Karo Platinum was awarded a development permit from the EMA. The development permit enabled Karo Platinum to initiate field work and the exploration drilling programme,” Karo said.

The first drilling contractor has moved on to the site and has completed 72 diamond core boreholes totally over 12 000 metres, the update says.

“The drilling campaign is focused on the western edge of the Great Dyke on the mining location and the boreholes targeting average depths of 50 to 150 metres below surface. A second drilling contractor has recently mobilised on the eastern edge of the Great Dyke. The digital terrain mapping and high resolution airborne geophysical survey over the mining location have been completed. The geophysical data has also been interpreted.”

According to Karo, the shallow depth of the main sulphide zone of the Great Dyke allows for initial open cast mining before developing the shallow underground workings. The core from boreholes is being prepared and logged before being sent to an independent laboratory for assay. The quality assurance and quality control programme is being carried out concurrently with the drilling programme and adheres to industry best practice.

“The results from the assay work and the following metallurgical test work will form the basis of the next phase of the project. The next stage of development would include the continuation of the drilling programme, the necessary resource estimation and feasibility studies for the mine design, infrastructure and beneficiation plants,” Karo said.

Tharisa also announced that it has secured five locations for the establishment of power sites, as part of its plan to generate 300 MW from a solar power plant at the platinum project.

In consultation with the Zimbabwean Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company, it was established that the full 300 MW of solar generated power would not be fed into a single substation to the national grid.

“Together with ZETDC, a total of five sites have been identified to receive the solar generated power in 50 MW modules. The first site, closely located to the Karo Platinum project, will receive the first 100 MW in two modules. ZETDC have commissioned the necessary grid impact studies for the selected sites.”

Karo Power has had initial engagements with the Zimbabwean Energy Regulator (ZERA) around the power purchase agreement and independent power producer (IPP) licence.

“Substantive negotiations regarding the power purchase agreement will commence with ZERA in March 2019. Once finalised, the IPP licence can be applied for.”