Work on opening Zimbabwe’s next giant platinum mine, Great Dyke Investments (GDI) in Darwendale is ahead of schedule, with the mine expected to increase Zimbabwe’s exports of platinum and platinum group metals in 2022.
The first box cut was done in January this year, witnessed by Russian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr. Nikolai Krasilnikov, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando and Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs and Devolution Mary Mliswa-Chikoka.
Both planned portals leading into the future mine workings are expected to have been fully developed by the end of next month, with the mine being developed over next year for operations and exports the year after.
The GDI mine follows Zimplats and Unki mines and is one of the new investments expected to help the Second Republic reach a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023.
Under the roadmap, gold is expected to contribute US$4 billion, platinum US$3 billion while chrome, iron, steel, diamonds and coal will contribute US$1 billion. Lithium is expected to contribute US$500 million while other minerals will contribute US$1,5 billion.
According to the mine’s chief operations officer, Mr. Munashe Shava, extraction which commenced this year will tally with the company’s projections of exports by 2022.
GDI is 50 percent owned by Russia’s Vi Holding, through its JSC Afromet subsidiary, and 50 percent owned by Zimbabwe’s Landela Mining Venture. The project has an estimate of 181,3 million tonnes of ore containing 17,1 million ounces of platinum group metals and gold, at an average grade of 2,93 grammes per tonne.
An upbeat Mr Shava said: “We estimate employment creation of 4 000 through all the phases including mining, processing and smelting. To date, we have spent about US0 million on geological exploration and construction of two mine portals and surface infrastructure. With the way operations are moving, we envisage beating the target of 2022’s first exportation mark,” he said.
The mine expects to start contributing to the country’s gross domestic product by 2022 although it has already contributed to the country’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic where it supplied local health institutions with machinery, sanitizers, protective clothing and infrared thermometers.
Mr. Shava said while excavation, supporting and construction of the tunnels was on course, the mine was forging ahead with its target of building modern houses in Norton and other surrounding areas, a move that is going to change the face of the town.
The process to relocate the affected homesteads through the ministries of Local Government, and Lands and Agriculture are also at an advanced stage.