Bravura’s mining projects gather momentum Equipment mobilised by Bravura for the new Selous Platinum Mine is being stored at Pomona Freight in Kempton Park, South Africa. The heavy machinery will be transported to Zimbabwe as soon as the mining company gets an import licence. — Picture: Kudakwashe Hunda.

Nelson Gahadza-Senior Business Reporter

BRAVURA Mining Consortium’s operations in Zimbabwe have gathered momentum through the acquisition of platinum mining machinery and the manufacture of the dense media separation plant for the lithium mine.

The separation plant was manufactured by Manhattan Corporation of South Africa and the machinery and equipment are already in that country, awaiting shipment to Zimbabwe once all necessary approvals and ongoing civil works at Kamativi are completed.

The company’s ventures in Zimbabwe are the proposed Bravura platinum mine in Selous, the processing of the old tin mining dumps at Kamativi for lithium, and the iron ore mine in Manhize, which are at different stages of implementation.

Bravura has since completed exploration work at its platinum mine in Selous and is now conducting feasibility studies ahead of actual mining.

The lithium processing in Kamativi is expected to come online next year following the completion of the separation plant and civil works. The Kamativi dump contains around 25 million tonnes of material and this translates to an annual capacity of 70 000 tonnes a year of spodumene concentrate. The seams of tin ore were embedded in a lithium rock, which in those days was of low value, so was just dumped. 

During a media tour of the plant and equipment in South Africa last Thursday, Manhattan chairman Mr Chris Pouroullis said production of the separation plant has been completed, and the plant’s design is based on data published by Bravura and extensive test work.

“The final product is spodumene, produced at approximately 10 tonnes per hour, depending on the input feed grade. The plant’s gross capacity is 70 000 tonnes per year of saleable spodumene concentrate. The front end operates only during the day to align with the mining equipment’s operational schedule, while stockpiles accumulated during the day are processed during the night shift, enhancing safety and operational efficiency,” he said during a presentation. The plant operates with synchronised 1,5MVA diesel generators, providing a combined output of 5MVA.

According to Bravura, the generators are already in Zimbabwe, awaiting deployment to Kamativi.

Mr Pouroullis said plant construction started about 18 to 22 months ago with the original inquiry before going through a design phase to understand, first of all, the mineralogy of the material of the Kamativi dump.

“In parallel to the design, we had to do the surface surveys and the earthwork design. So we had to determine where we were going to locate the plant and what pre-work needed to be done to successfully perform all the civil construction.

“When you survey the ground conditions, you need to do physical tests in the soil, and we had to modify the civil design on a number of occasions to deal with the difficult conditions.

As soon as we had our designs drawn up, we could start fabrication, and we are now entering the endgame of the project.

“We have concluded about 95 percent of all the construction fabrication work. The only items we have not yet brought in are items that can perish with time, for example, chemicals and reagents. Those will be acquired close to the commissioning phase of the project when you require them, and post-earthworks, the plant will be installed,” said Mr Pouroullis.

He said Manhattan was in the process of acquiring transport permits, and once the parts are delivered, it will take between three and five months to fully install the plant. Bravura project geologist Mr Farirai Kambanje said the four pieces of mechanised mining machinery will enable the company to commence the box cut for the platinum project.

He said there are four sets of dampers, rigs, bolters and load-haul dumps. “This is the equipment that we are waiting for to open our box cut at the mine,” he said.

Bravura was awarded a 3 000-hectare concession in Selous, about 80km south of Harare, in 2019, upon which the company applied for an extension of the concession, which has since been granted.

According to group general manager Mr Gbenga Ojo, having three mining projects in Zimbabwe was a calculated strategy to counter fluctuations in global metal prices and cost dynamics. Recently, commodities such as platinum group metals, nickel, and lithium, which are key revenue contributors, have been declining, resulting in some companies retrenching and posting losses while others have suspended expansion projects.

However, Mr Ojo said he is optimistic about the price rebound and is bullish considering that the demand and the supply circle will cause prices to correct themselves. 

According to the World Platinum Investment Council, Zimbabwe has the world’s third-largest platinum group metals resource along the mineral-rich Great Dyke, after South Africa and Russia.

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