Zimbabwe “worried” over delays to platinum mine

ZIMBABWE’S government is due to meet with Bravura Holdings over delays to a proposed platinum group metals project, said Bloomberg News in an article republished by News24. Bravura Holdings is owned by Nigerian tycoon Benedict Peters.

“We are meeting them later this week” and are “worried”, Polite Kambamura, Zimbabwe’s deputy mines minister, told the newswire.

Bravura was awarded a 3,000 hectare concession in Selous, about 50 miles south of Harare, in 2019.

Zimbabwe has the world’s second-largest reserves of platinum, which occurs with base metals including nickel and copper.

Peters owns Aiteo Eastern E&P Company, a Nigerian oil producer, which is also locked in a dispute with Shell and its Nigerian lenders over the company’s $2.4bn acquisition of a prized onshore oil block from the London-headquartered energy giant in 2015, said Bloomberg News.

The creditors, which include Shell, allege that Peters’ firm defaulted on its repayments in 2019 and owed them $1.7bn as of late 2021. The matter is the subject of court cases in Nigeria and arbitration proceedings in the UK.

Aiteo has argued in court that the lenders should restructure the company’s repayment schedule because of unforeseen “events of force majeure”, including rampant oil theft and pipeline leaks, Bloomberg News said.

Zimbabwe has had disappointment with foreign investors promising to build large, capital intensive PGM mines before. In 2018 a joint venture between Russia’s JSC Afromet and Zimbabwe’s Pen East – Great Dyke Investments (GDI) – planned to build a precious metals mine and smelter in the southern African country for $400m.