Implats approached over taking a stake in Zimbabwe’s Great Dyke Investments

IMPALA Platinum (Implats) may be in line to buy a stake in the platinum project being developed by Great Dyke Investments (GDI), according to Bloomberg News.

David Brown, chairman of GDI, confirmed a stake in the business was to be sold, but declined to provide details. “The size of the stake we plan to sell is subject to negotiations,” said Brown, who is a former CEO of Implats.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News said GDI viewed Implats as an attractive partner partly because the Johannesburg-based company also has the capacity to process ore from the mine.

Securing an off-take agreement would help with the capital raising process for GDI which the company has said in the past could be in place by year-end. A capital amount of some $500m has been estimated for the mine.

Nico Muller, CEO of Implats, has been cautious about the prospect of further investment in Zimbabwe, where the company has an 87% stake in Zimplats. “We would be cautious to invest growth capital in Zimbabwe. It would have to be at the right time,” he said in September.

The administration of Zimbabwe president, Emmerson Mnangagwe, is running out of rope following the 2017 ouster of the late dictator, Robert Mugabe.

The so-called Paris Club of nations, which is owed $3.26bn by Zimbabwe, earlier this year rejected a plea for more funds, especially as Mnangagwe’s civil rights record is questionable. Food and fuel and other supply shortages, meanwhile, are chronic in Zimbabwe.

Assuming a far improved socio-economic position in Zimbabwe, however, Implats could potentially “… play a role by providing shared processing potential in concentrate or refinery capacity. But it would be a long-term ambition,” Muller said in September.