Russia Stake in Biggest Zimbabwe Platinum Project Deters Backers – by Felix Njini, Loni Prinsloo and Godfrey Marawanyika (Bloomberg News – June 3, 2022)

(Bloomberg) — Zimbabwe’s biggest platinum project, struggling to get off the ground for the past two years has a new challenge. A major stake held by a Russian tycoon is scaring off potential financiers for the $3 billion mine, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Initial development work on the Darwendale deposit began in early 2020, but operations at the project were soon halted because of a lack of capital and the site has been abandoned since early last year, according to a report by Zimbabwe’s Centre for Natural Resource Governance.

Vitaliy Machitskiy’s Vi Holding, which has a 50% stake, is reluctant to continue investing after years of delays, the people said, asking not to be identified as the talks aren’t public.

But Kuvimba Mining House Ltd., which owns 50% of the project and which the government says it controls, has been unable to attract fresh investment because European platinum buyers don’t want to enter into purchase agreements with an entity with Russian shareholders, the people said. The fear of running up against sanctions stemming from Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine means it’s also harder to borrow money to develop the project, they said.

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