Sunday, December 17, 2017
Mike Nunn

Mike Nunn


MIKE Nunn is famed for putting tanzanite on the global investment and retail map, a semi-precious gemstone found only in the foothills of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. On the back of this crackerjack marketing spin, he listed Tanzanite One in London. Less known, but equally impressive, is Nunn’s $500m legal tangle with the government of Robert Mugabe which he said had unfairly awarded his rights to platinum-bearing property to a government-backed Russian consortium. Nunn is thought to have won the case, but it’s not entirely known if any monies were paid. That was through Nunn’s Amari Platinum Holdings; the parent Amari Group Nunn established from 2005 which invested throughout Africa in base, precious and ferrous metals as well as diamonds. Nunn’s latest incarnation, after moving to the UK, is Elandsfontein, a 1.5 million tonne a year phosphate mine costing R1.35bn that will reduce South Africa’s reliance on imports. There is controversy ahoy though. Trevor Manuel, the former finance minister, wondered aloud at a recent conference why the project had been awarded its permits so easily given its proximity to the Langebaan Lagoon on the Cape West Coast. Kropz said there is some pushback, but insists it is doing the development by the book. The project is in joint venture with Patrice Motsepe with whom Nunn has charitable endeavours through his Greenheart Foundation.


Nunn emigrated to South Africa in the early Nineties after having spent his childhood in orphanages in the UK. He gravitated towards precious gemstone mining before forming Tanzanite One in 1991, a company that cornered up to 70% of the world market in tanzanite. Following an acrimonious takeover attempt by Gemfields, he established Amari which sought to mine diamonds, gold, nickel among others. He left for the UK in 2012, establishing Kropz in the same year. He is married with three children.

“Kropz insists it is doing everything by the book.”