Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 25 September 2009 – Diversified South African miner African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) is planning to invest in coal and platinum group metals (PGM) projects in Zimbabwe, according to a top company official.
“We are looking for PGMs and we are looking for coal. We are in discussion with a number of people in Zimbabwe to see whether there is something in which we can become involved in terms of exploration,” said ARM Exploration chief executive Dan Simelane in an interview with Reuters.
He expressed the opinion that authorities in Zimbabwe had improved the investment climate since the formation of a government by President Robert Mugabe and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai in February.
The new power-sharing government in Zimbabwe “’ which has the world’s second-biggest platinum reserves after South Africa, as well as large deposits of diamonds, coal and nickel “’ is keen to attract foreign mining companies to invest in the country’s mining sector.
Simelane also revealed that ARM “’ South Africa’s second-biggest black-owned mining group “’ was also spending around US$250 million (R2 billion) to develop the Konkola North copper project in Zambia.
ARM “’ which has interests in nickel, coal, iron ore, platinum, chrome and manganese in South Africa “’ said earlier this month that it planned to spend more than R8 billion on expansions and upgrades to its South African mines. A separate budget would be available for regional projects.
The company plans to divest from some operations that are no longer part of its project portfolio, including the Ojikoto project in Namibia, which has a gold resource of about 1.93 million oz.
“Ojikoto is out for tender and a lot of companies have shown interest in that gold project, and hopefully it will be sold before year-end or early next year,” Simelane said.
ARM executive director Stompie Shiels, also present at the interview, said the Konkola North copper project in Zambia “’ a joint venture with Vale of Brazil and the group’s main project outside of South Africa “’ was expected to produce up to 45 000 tonnes of copper per year.
A decision to start mine development would be reached in the second quarter of 2010.
“We are fairly confident that this should go ahead,” he added.
He said that ARM would delay a decision whether to develop the Lupoto copper project in the DRC, where exploration since 2007 has yielded around 24 million tonnes in copper, for three to four years. The company would only start mining developments when it reached 100 million tonnes in available mineral resources.