Karo Platinum is the newest low-cost, open pit PGM asset under construction and located on the Great Dyke in Zimbabwe.
In the period under review, Tharisa increased its holding in Karo Mining Holdings from 70% to 75% as a result of providing funding for the project as part of the overall capital strategy. With further equity capital to come, Tharisa will increase its shareholding in Karo Mining Holdings to 80%. Karo Mining Holdings controls an indirect 85% of the shareholding of Karo Platinum with the Republic of Zimbabwe (through Generation Minerals Private Limited) holding the remaining 15% on a free funded carry basis. Tharisa will have an effective 68% in the Karo Platinum Project following the full capital commitments.
Karo intends to employ locally as far as possible. As such, 1 107 people had been employed at time of writing, of which 139 are Karo employees, with 12% female employees, mainly from the local area, with skills available in all aspects of the operations.
’We have shown at Tharisa that we have a track record of not only building mines but have created a business that is sustainable and profitable for the benefits of all stakeholders through job creation, upliftment and upskilling and returns to governments in the forms of royalties and taxes. While the macro environment has necessitated a lengthening of the Karo development timeline, I am as confident as when we started in 2018 that we will deliver the same outcome for all stakeholders at Karo in the years to come.’.
In total, 71% of all females employed including contractors are in technical or field programmes. For the period under review, a total of 1 691 community stakeholders have been engaged, including 1 048 men and 643 women. One LTI was recorded on the project for the year under review.
Karo will be guided by local laws and regulations in the country and best practices globally. Zimbabwe has a long history of safe and successful mining, and Karo is set to be a significant contributor to both GDP and delivering a sustainable, long-life integrated mining operation through Tharisa’s proven world-class development approach for projects such as Karo.
The mining lease area for the Karo Platinum Project covers an area of 23 903 ha and is situated within a designated special economic zone (‘SEZ’), is in the southern portion of the middle chamber of the Great Dyke and is supported by good infrastructure, including tarred roads and power access in the project area.
The Great Dyke is a PGM-bearing geological feature that runs north to south. At approximately 550 km in length and up to 11 km wide, it is second to the Bushveld Complex of South Africa’s PGM resource base.
The Karo Platinum Project area is located on both the eastern and western flanks of the Great Dyke, which hosts the Main Sulphide Zone (‘MSZ’). There is no outcrop as the mafic and ultramafic rocks weather easily to black cotton soil. The area is underlain by both the mafic and ultramafic sequences dipping at 20° to the east on the western side of the Great Dyke and 32° to the west on the eastern side of the Great Dyke. The MSZ is estimated to be approximately 700 m deep at the southern end of the tenement, up to 1 000 m deep in the centre, and 600 m deep in the northern end of the tenement.
Construction at the Karo Platinum Project officially commenced on 7 December 2022. A rapid construction timeline was targeted and the first concrete was poured in June 2023. In the same month, open pit pilot mining commenced to optimise the mining methods and produce ore to further test and refine metallurgical processing. Karo will process approximately 2.5 Mtpa of ore at nameplate capacity and produce 190.0 kozpa of PGMs (6E basis).
While fundraising commenced successfully, with the significant shareholder, Tharisa, providing capital and a raise by Karo of some US$36.8 million through a US$-denominated structured debt instrument that was successfully listed on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange, the PGM price environment did necessitate a review of the commissioning timeline of the Karo Platinum Project. First ore in mill (‘FOIM’) is now planned for June 2025 and the project team has divided major workstreams into smaller commitments to ensure continued development aligned with funding availability. These revised workstreams are designed to accelerate the project implementation should the PGM market become more favourable. Positively, manufacturing of key long-lead items is nearing completion, while pilot mining is continuing as planned to optimise mining design.
Chariot Limited (‘Chariot’), the Africa-focused transitional energy group, has signed a memorandum of understanding (‘MoU’) to partner on and develop, finance, build and operate a 30 MWp solar photovoltaic (‘PV’) project that will provide competitive solar electricity for the Karo Platinum Project, in Zimbabwe. Chariot is also a partner in developing a 40 MWp PV plant at Tharisa’s existing Tier 1 PGM and chrome mine in South Africa, designed to ensure Tharisa exceeds its desired carbon emission reduction target of 30% by 2030 and carbon net neutrality by 2050, and providing synergies in building both power projects.
Karo remains a world-class Tier 1 development project producing commodities required for the decarbonisation of the planet. While the delay in the timeline is a setback, it needs to be viewed in the context of a multi-generational project with a massive upside to the resource once phase 1 has been completed.Karo Mining Website