Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Harare — Karo Resources, a company linked to mining entrepreneur Loucas Pouroulis, will spend $4.2bn on a Zimbabwean platinum project in the first big investment since former president Robert Mugabe’s ousting in November.

The deal is the largest to date in Zimbabwe’s mining industry, mines sinister Winston Chitando said. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared the "country open for business" as he seeks to revive the economy and attract investment. "It is not business as usual anymore," the president told reporters on Thursday. "Things have to change."

Karo’s platinum project will start up in 2020 and produce 1.4-million ounces a year of platinum-group metals (PGMs) at full output, potentially making it the country’s top producer by 2023, Chitando said. Zimbabwe has the second-biggest reserves of the metals after SA.

The project will also include a 600MW power plant and coal-mining operations to feed it.

Pouroulis has a long history in Southern African mining. He set up South African platinum-mining ventures Lefkochrysos, which means "white gold" in Greek, and Eland Platinum. Eland was sold to Xstrata Plc in 2007 for the equivalent of $1.1bn. His son Phoevos met Mnangagwa in the president’s office in January.