Harare – JSE and LSE listed Tharisa, a chrome and platinum groups metals (PGM) producer is looking at developing two large scale solar power plants as part of its investment drive in Zimbabwe, CEO Phoevos Pouroulis said in a statement accompanying the Group’s financial statements for the year ended 30 September 2019.
Tharisa has a 26.8% shareholding in Karo Mining Holdings located in the Mhondoro-Ngezi platinum belt, west of Harare.
Earlier in 2018, Karo announced the intention to build a 300 megawatts solar plant to power its operations in the Great Dyke, shifting from the initial plan to construct a 600 MW thermal power plant at the site.
Zimbabwe Energy and Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) started rolling power cuts back in May 2019 lasting up to 18 hours per day attributed to low water levels at the Kariba dam which supplies the biggest hydro plant in the country and creaking infrastructure at ageing coal-fired generators at Hwange Thermal Power station.
Resultantly, most companies among them mining companies and independent power producers have turned to construction of renewable and hydro-energy sources so as to improve access to power and cushion themselves against loss of production hours.
Pouroulis indicated that the power generated will also be supplied into the national grid.
“The aim is not to generate the power exclusively for our mining operations, but to feed it directly into the grid to benefit the country,” he said.
Karo Zimbabwe is committed to an Investment Project Framework Agreement with the government of Zimbabwe signed between the parties on 22 March 2018 which involves the establishment of a vertically integrated PGMs mining complex located in the Great Dyke in Zimbabwe.
Karo will design and construct fully integrated facilities to ensure the maximum extraction of value from mining, through the value chain to final base metal and precious metal refining. The project is based on proven technologies and industry best practices.
The company will open its first of four open pit mines in 2020 and at its peak expects to produce 1.4 million ounces of platinum, more than twice Zimbabwe’s current total output.
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