Karo Resources intends to invest some of its planned Zimbabwe $4.2 billion platinum project output to create catalytic converters for capping emissions in diesel cars.
While speaking to a committee of parliament on Monday, Zimbabwe Mines Minister Winston Chitando said that Karo Resources and an undisclosed partner intended to use some of the platinum in manufacturing diesel catalytic converters locally.
“One of the players within Karo is in the production of catalytic converters,” Chitando said. He added “They have requested to have a partnership where some of the platinum which will be coming from the precious metal refinery will actually be feeding into a catalytic converter plant, which will be installed on that site.”
Keen to revive the mining sector after years of reticence by foreign investors during Robert Mugabe’s rule, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been able to boost foreign investors’ interest in the southern African nation. Projects are, however, still constrained by lack of funding.
Loucas Pouroulis, head of Karos Resources, in March signed an agreement with the Zimbabwean government to build a $4.2bn platinum mine and refinery in the Mhondoro-Ngezi platinum belt, which will include an integrated coal-fired power plant, and produce 1.2 million ounces a year of platinum group metals by 2023.
“Zimbabwe is open for business and whoever stands in the way, hurting business in this country, will fall. It is not business as usual anymore, things have to change,” Mnangagwa said at the signing ceremony.
Chitando told Reuters that Karo’s contractors would start work on the mining site in Chegutu, west of Harare, on June 23. “The speed with which they are moving in terms of coming to establish sight (and) in terms of the mobilisation of equipment,” he said, “I would like to believe that the timelines which are in the agreement will be met.”
Platinum price is pinned below $1,000 an ounce, less than half of what it was a decade ago, which was partially affected by falling sales of diesel cars that are considered a source of pollutants.
The country’s mining sector has only been turning out about $2 billion annually – a tenth of the sector’s full potential- since 2009. The mining sector that contributes about 50% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings and 4.5% of employment still needs $5 to 7 billion investment to grow. On a positive note, Mining Report said, “this translates to an incredible opportunity for investors, and the government is fully committed to creating an enabling environment for investors.”
Mining contributes more than half of Zimbabwe’s export receipt. Last year, it earned $2.8 billion from the industry. The government is expected to announce a new “mining vision” at the end of June, Mines Minister Winston Chitando said on Friday in another report.