Zimbabwe’s Platinum Mining Holding Stalled Over Transparency Concerns

Zimbabwe’s plan to develop one of the world’s biggest platinum mines stalled after Impala Platinum asked for greater transparency on the ownership of a state-run company before considering a joint venture.

Impala which is the third-largest producer of platinum group metals has been approached by Great Dyke Investments which owns the Darwendale project, according to people familiar with the talks who asked not to be identified because they aren’t public. It wants more information about the government’s Kuvimba Mining House, which is 35% owned by private shareholders the state has yet to identify.

Kuvimba and Russian tycoon Vitaliy Machitskiy’s Vi Holding each own 50% of Great Dyke.

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Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s government says it controls Kuvimba, its assets are the same as those that were owned until at least late 2020 by Sotic International Limited, a company linked to Kudakwashe Tagwirei, an adviser to Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Tagwirei is under sanctions since 2020 by the US Treasury, which alleged that he has bribed government officials and used political influence to win lucrative state deals. Tagwirei hasn’t commented on the sanctions.

The opacity of Kuvimba’s ownership has effectively halted development of the Darwendale mine, 65 kilometres east of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, leaving the project that’s central to Zimbabwe’s economic recovery stagnant. A project by Eurasian Resources Group on land taken from Anglo American Platinum Ltd. has also stalled, as have Tharisa Plc’s plans for a new platinum mine.

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The talks between Great Dyke and Impala unraveled after the Johannesburg-based mining company said its internal processes required that it conduct due diligence on the project and its ownership, the people said. Impala had contemplated taking a stake as well as processing its output, the people said.

Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Mines referred queries to the Ministry of Finance, which didn’t respond to questions. Tagwirei didn’t answer calls to his mobile or immediately respond to text messages. Impala declined to comment.

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