The Great Dyke in Zimbabwe is a geological feature of great significance as it hosts the world’s second largest deposits of PGMs and chrome, outside of South Africa’s Bushveld Complex. The Great Dyke is over 550 km long and up to 11 km wide. There are two mineralised horizons, namely the main sulphide zone (‘MSZ’) and the lower sulphide zone (‘LSZ’). Current mining operations located on the Great Dyke exploit the MSZ, while the LSZ is largely under explored.
In June 2018, Tharisa acquired a 26.8% shareholding in Karo Holdings. Karo Holdings entered into an investment agreement with the Republic of Zimbabwe on 22 March 2018, in terms of which Karo Holdings has undertaken to establish an integrated PGM mining complex. The project will include PGM mines, concentrators, smelters, a base metal and precious metals refinery, as well as renewable power generation capacity made available to the Zimbabwe power grid.
Karo Platinum, an indirect subsidiary of Karo Holdings, applied for and was awarded PGM rights under a Special Grant under the Zimbabwe Mines and Minerals Act, covering an area of 23 903 ha. The licence area is situated on the Great Dyke in the Mashonaland West District of Zimbabwe. This area of land had been released by Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Private) Limited from its mining lease area in support of the government of Zimbabwe’s efforts to enable participation by other investors in the platinum mining industry in Zimbabwe. In terms of the Special Grant, Karo Platinum will be entitled to mine PGMs situated within the licence area. Karo Platinum will be responsible for the mine development and mining operations, which will deliver ROM ore to Karo Refining. Karo Refining, a subsidiary of Karo Holdings, will build, own and operate the concentrators and smelters, as well as the base metal and PGM refinery.
Most recently Karo Platinum completed 238 boreholes, comprising 32 400 m drilled. Drilling has focused on the western boundary of the Great Dyke, with average depths of 50 m to 150 m below surface targeted. Various approvals have been received. Significantly, the Zimbabwe Special Economic Zones Authority has declared a portion of Selous measuring 50 667 hectares as a special economic zone. The zone is located on certain pieces of land covered by special mining grants issued to a subsidiary of Karo Holdings.
Karo Holdings, through its subsidiary, Karo Power, has agreed to identify and establish a phased development of a renewable energy source of 300 MW of solar power, to be fed into the national grid. Technical and financial partners have been identified for this project.