JSE-listed multinational construction company Murray & Roberts (M&R) is adding Zimbabwe’s new Darwendale platinum mine among R84 billion worth of contracts that it hopes to wrap up this year.

The mine, run by Great Dyke Investments (GDI), is projected to be the country’s biggest platinum operation.

Of the R84 billion current tenders, Zimbabwe is among R30 billion of contracts where M&R is the chosen contractor, CEO Henry Laas says.

“But the important thing is that of that R84 billion, R30 billion has been negotiated on a sole source basis, which means we are not competing with other competitors on that R30 billion of work. There are three projects in that space. One is a project in Zimbabwe and two projects in Australia which collectively make up the R30 billion on a sole source basis. So there we are the preferred bidder,” Laas said last week.

“We’ve worked with the client to a point that they’re ready to proceed with the project. And all three projects are subject to final investment decisions and we can’t time that exactly, but we are confident that some of them will find their way into the order book if not by December certainly very early in the second half of the current financial year.”

M&R could not give further details, as the transaction is not yet finalised. Group media and investment executive Ed Jardim told newZWire: “As we are still working on the commercials of the undisclosed project, I cannot confirm and details around the project/s.”

However, GDI does list M&R unit Murray & Roberts Cementation (SA) among a range of key contractors and suppliers on the development of the mine. Murray & Roberts Cementation is one of the mining industry’s largest contractors in shaft sinking, engineering and mine design.

Other international contractors include contractor Fata EPC of Italy, the largest underground mining contractor within the South Africa region, DRA, which did the bankable feasibility study for the project, geology consulatants MSA Group (SA), engineering company TOMS (Russia), metallurgists Metallicon (SA) and roller mill maker Loesche (Germany).

In September last year, GDI cleared a significant hurdle when the African Export-Import Bank completed a due diligence study, allowing it to proceed with a US$500 million syndicated funding program. By then, US$100 million had been spent on preliminary works. However, funding has been delayed by the impact of COVID-19 on the capital markets.

The Darwendale project, located 65 km from Harare, has a capacity of 181,3 million tons of ore and enough PGM resources to support a total mine life for more than 20 years. When complete, it is expected to produce 860,000 ounces of platinum group metals and gold a year, making it the country’s biggest mining operation.

GDI is 50% owned by Russia’s Vi Holding and Zimbabwean investors Landela Mining and Fossil. -NewZwire