Great Dyke Investments in the Vision 2030 document, titled Towards a Prosperous & Empowered Upper Middle Income Society by 2030, GDI was put forward as a “game changer” for the mining sector, and the economy; a centrepiece of an ambitious US$12 billion target for the industry. The US$3 billion Great Dyke Investments platinum mega project in Darwendale, 65 kilometres west of Harare, was to support local processing of mineral resources, to assist such minerals as platinum, chrome, lithium, nickel, diamond cutting and polishing, copper, gold and coal, with strengthening of linkages along the mineral value chain.

The project was commissioned by the late former president Robert Mugabe in September 2014 in a high-level ceremony also attended visiting Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

Contact Details

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Physical Location and History

Found on the mineral-rich Great Dyke, GDI is on one of the biggest Platinum Group Metals deposits in the world. A bankable feasibility study undertaken in 2017 by African Export-Import Bank showed the 6 500-hectare mine life expectancy was 40 years. Peak production was expected to be 860 000 ounces per annum, worth almost US$1 billion.

The mine was to be developed in three phases.

  • First - 2014 to 2017, entailing exploration, infrastructure development and commissioning of mining facilities.
  • Second - 2018 to 2021, to include establishment of a new mine and expansion of concentration capacity to produce 530 000 oz of platinum per year.
  • Third – 2022 to 2024, full development phase, with the expansion of platinum production to 800 000 oz per year.

Project history started in 2006, when retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, then head of Zimbabwe Defence Industries, set up a joint venture, Ruschrome Mining, with the help of a Russian cooperation, Russian Centre For Business Cooperation. The agreement signing was witnessed by Zimbabwe Defence Force’s legal director and the Russian Embassy’s defence adviser. The company later inherited a Zimplats claim surrendered in 2006 as part of the government’s indigenisation programme, although it is not clear whether the army paid anything for the claims.

The cost of mining and establishment of a smelter was estimated at US$3 billion, but would rise to US$4.8 billion after the setting up of a refinery between 2022 and 2024. Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube awarded GDI a special mining lease under which a range of taxes will not have to be paid for five years. Among tax exemptions until 2025 are income tax and dividends to shareholders. GDI was also given a five-year tax holiday through SI26/2021. However, the contract between Zimbabwean shareholders and GDI has never been available for public scrutiny to determine how the project’s investment outlays and fiscal regime would benefit the country in the long run.
Nine years after the commissioning of the platinum project, there has been little progress towards getting the ore out of the ground, which was targeted to start in 2021. The company already spent over US$100 million on geological exploration and construction of two box cuts and surface infrastructure according to Ivanov, CNRG’s report says.
Afreximbank was expected to provide about US$500 million to fund the initial mining phase. Investigations by CNRG revealed that Portal 2 was left incomplete while Portal 1, though completed, collapsed at the stage of drilling the decline shafts. The collapse of Portal 1 raised a lot of questions about the competency of the engineers who designed the mine plan. Open cast mining was then reccomenced.

With these safety fears, all excavation operations for making the declines stopped. Internal sources indicate delays in the project scheduling and budget creeps caused fatigue in the Russian investor who had expected mining would have started by 2021. No more funding was made available.

In December 2020, movement on the mine had slowed, and from May 2021, there were few activities at the mine, operations were placed under care and maintenance, contractors such as JR Goddard, KW Blasting, Dific Mining Contractors, Static Strata, Esor Construction and Intrachem withdrew and workers were retrenched. For the reported underlyng reasons of mismanagement and mistrust between the Russian investors and their local partners, the Russians had started to strategically pull out of the mine site by the end of 2021.

Organisation Structure

Initially the project was owned by a consortium of Zimbabwean investors operating under the name Pen East, 30 percent controlled by the military’s Old Stone Investments and 20 percent by the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation. Then Tagwirei bought that 50 percent stake, and Russian investors including VI Holdings, Rostec and Vnesheconombank became invovled.
In 2022, it is repported that GDI is 50 percent owned by Vitaliy Machitskiy, (of Russia), Vi Holdings, through its JSC Afromet subsidiary, and 50 percent by Landela Mining Venture, linked to Kudakwashe Tagwirei who is closely associated with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his family.
Tagwirei – who is under American and British sanctions – and his companies, Sotic International and many other local and offshore structures, Kuvimba Mining House, 65 percent owned by government and 35 percent by ghost shareholders, now controls 50 percent of GDI. [1] Further shareholder changes - South Africa’s Impala Platinum, which owns Zimplats, the country’s biggest platinum project, was approached to buy a stake in GDI. That failed due to GDI’s opaque shareholding structure, especially regarding Kuvimba. Landela paid US$21.5 million for a stake in GDI. There were also further mysterious payments, which included US$220 million and ZW$300 million. The deal was not transparent.

Offers

Training, Financial support, Legal advice, Factory / office space.

Events

Cartel

Great Dyke Investments (GDI) is mentioned on p31 Cartel Power Dynamics in Zimbabwe under the Case Study 5 The Mining Cartels.

Other sources suggest that the key player in the GDI initiative is not Afreximbank Bank, but the Trade and Development Bank (TBD), formerly the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA), headed by Adamasu Tadesse, reportedly very close to Managagwa. Either way, the deal is clouded in opacity

Reported Collapse

In May 2022, it was reported that “has all but collapsed.” In a report by the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG), a civil society research and advocacy group, they say that after a protracted investigation, the project is now stalled, or perhaps, the US$3 billion Great Dyke Investments platinum mega project has all but collapsed. The project collapsed in 2021 due to several problems including corruption, mismanagement, mistrust, and poor planning. Currently, mining operations have stopped as the Russian investor has stopped pumping money into the project.

Further Reading

  1. Zim’s US$3bn platinum deal all but collapses in a shambles, News Hawks, Published: 28 May 2022, Retrieved: 30 May 2022