The politically well-connected Cypriot Pouroulis family — which is close to President Emmerson Mnangagwa — and is associated with speculation in mining has hit the jackpot in Zimbabwe.
After clinching a dodgy US$4,2 billion platinum investment deal with government in March through its company Karo Resources Limited, it has now acquired three vast special grants to mine chrome and other natural resources along the mineral-rich Great Dyke.
The latest deal was sealed last week. This effectively gives them control of vast swathes of some of the most lucrative mineral concessions in Zimbabwe. The Great Dyke hosts huge ore deposits, including gold, silver, chrome, platinum, nickel and asbestos.
Loucas Pouroulis, the business tycoon close to Mnangagwa, is notorious for speculation: in 2005 he made a fortune after acquiring South Africa’s Impala Platinum subsidiary Elandsfontein Platinum Project for US$15 million before selling it two years later for a staggering US$1,1 billion to Xstrata.
While the platinum deal was dodgy and reeked of speculation, the latest chrome venture is a web of related-party transactions. This creates a potential conflict of interest, which must be regulated as it could result in commercially prejudicial activities
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