The company said the earmark is the first portion of a total $3 billion investment for what it said will be its biggest platinum-group metals (PGM) asset. The project includes a mining and processing plant; the plant along with the smelter will process up to 10 million tons/9.07 million tonnes with a goal of producing 855,000oz (about 27 tons or 24.4 tonnes) of PGMs and gold per year.
GDI has already negotiated with more than 50 potential contractors for the work at Darwendale, all capable of taking on large-scale projects, and has already evaluated their respective records on production efficiency, environmental safety and more.
“We are going to choose very soon our EPC/EPCM from among those already shortlisted to this role,” GDI board chairman Hepsina Rukato said. “We are talking about the implementation of a full cycle of work: detailed design, procurement of equipment, construction materials, machinery, as well as further organisation and control over the construction of the facility.”
A $60 million preparatory project phase has already been wrapped up for Darwendale; during that time, an extensive geological exploration campaign was completed, as well as comprehensive process-related testwork to study ore concentration amenability on a significant portion of the mining lease area.
Core facilities of industrial yard and infrastructure for initial mine development have also been built, including more than 6km of roads, a modern core storage facility, a modern accommodation camp and residential and office premises.
GDI is a JV between Russian and Zimbabwean companies JSC Afromet and Pen East Limited. Life-of-mine after ramp up to full capacity is estimated to be 35 years.