The Project is being implemented by a Zimbabwean company Great Dyke Investments (Pvt) Ltd (GDI) controlled on a parity basis by Russian and Zimbabwean shareholders - Afromet JSC and Landela Mining Venture (Pvt) Ltd respectively. The ultimate beneficiary of a 100% stake in Afromet JSC is the Russian investment and industrial group Vi Holding, which has been the promoter and key investor of the Project since 2013.
The Darwendale project has a JORC-compliant resource of 181.3 million tonnes of ore containing 17.1 million ounces of PGMs and gold, at a an average grade of 2.93 g/t.
In 2017, a Bankable feasibility study (BFS) completed by the leading engineering house in the PGM industry - DRA Group (South Africa) – demonstrated robust economics for Phase 1 of the project, which was later complemented with a basic economic assessment confirming the economic potential of the full scale 3-phased project. An estimated 1,350 jobs would be created with development of Phase 1 of the Project.
The Project implementation strategy provides for the phased creation of a mining, processing and smelting operations. At a production rate of 3.5-million tonnes a year, the Darwendale project will produce an average of 280,000 oz/y of PGM and gold at Phase 1. A two-stage expansion plan will increase its throughput capacity to 10.5-million tonnes a year with metal production reaching 860,000 oz/y of PGM and gold.
Peak funding for the Darwendale project Phase 1 is estimated at more than US$500 million.
The main financial partner of the Project is the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), which has been acting as a mandated lead arranger (MLA) since early 2018. According to the agreement, Afreximbank’s mandate covers both debt (project) financing and equity raising portion in the amount sufficient for the successful implementation of the Phase 1 of the Project. The target financial close date for the transaction is set up to March 31, 2020.
Advanced negotiations are currently underway with a number of South African, Russian and Zimbabwean financial institutions to participate in the syndicate providing funds for equipment, machinery and services procurement.
The project team is finalizing contractual terms, pricing and documentation with a set of leading international and local Zimbabwean contractors, suppliers and service providers.
The 2019 year is marked for the Project and GDI by the arrival of a new strong Zimbabwean shareholder – Landela Mining Venture, which is a part of the bigger experienced multinational commodity trading group Sotic International Ltd with business interests in minerals and oil trade across the SADC region and Zimbabwe in particular.
The newly re-constituted Board of Directors of GDI at its first meeting held in October 2019 appointed a seasoned professional in the PGM industry Mr. David Brown to the position of the Chairman of the Board.
David Brown noted that “the project team has covered much ground with respect to the technical viability of the project and has provided sufficient confidence for all stakeholders to ensure a successful delivery of both the development and operational phases of the project. The progress achieved so far is substantial and sufficient for transitioning to the next stage which will include detailed design, contracting for major equipment elements as well as the start of construction, all of which will be subject to the successful financing stage of the project being completed”.
“There remains a lot of hard work to be done before we can commence development on the ground, but I am confident that the Darwendale project has the potential to become a significant low-cost platinum group metal producer, ultimately becoming a major part of the global PGM industry in the mid-term.”