Zimbabwe-Russia platinum JV project close to $500mn funding
GDI, whose owners JCS Afromet (a subsidiary of Vi Holding, Moscow) and Landela Mining Venture (Harare) each own a 50% share, now plan to start mining platinum ore in 2021, with the necessary financing likely to be secured before the end of this year.
Once operational, the platinum project is expected to become the largest mining venture in Zimbabwe. It is estimated that it will produce 860,000 oz of platinum group metals and gold per year.
Alex Ivanov, the chief executive of Great Dyke Investments, commented to Reuters: "While some delays in funding arrangements caused by the Covid-19 (and) associated disruptions have indeed been encountered since the beginning of 2020, financial closure is now expected by the end of the year”.
When asked about the source of the funding, Ivanov said that it would come from five institutions in Russia and Zimbabwe that were participating in a syndicated funding, led by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). Ivanov did not reveal their names.
Ivanov did say that the funding would take the form of debt and equity, and that GDI had passed technical, commercial and financial due diligence arranged by the lenders. The venture has already spent around $100mn on geological exploration and construction of two mine portals and surface infrastructure.
Afreximbank originally intended to raise the funding before the end of March, but this was not possible, due to the effects of both the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and Zimbabwe’s current economic crisis.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.