Resource group Tharisa said on Wednesday it had acquired a 90 percent shareholding in Salene Chrome Zimbabwe  from the Leto Settlement Trust, effective from May 15.

The company said Leto would retain a 10 percent free carried shareholding in Salene and be entitled to a three percent royalty on the gross proceeds from the sale of the chrome concentrates produced.

Salene has been awarded three special grants under the Zimbabwe Mines and Minerals Act covering an area of approximately 9,500 hectares (95 square kilometres) on the eastern side of the Great Dyke in Zimbabwe, which entitles it to mine commodities including illuvial chrome.

A special grant authorises the holder to carry out mining operations for a specified mineral or minerals over the specified area for a period of 24 months, with the right of annual renewal.

Tharisa said Salene intended to apply for the consolidation of the special grant areas into a mining lease area valid for the life of mine.

"Based on available geological information and similar illuvial chrome mining activities in the region, Tharisa considers this to be a highly prospective opportunity to meaningfully expand its chrome mining interests," it said.

With this geographical diversification into Zimbabwe, Tharisa said it had appointed Josephat Zimba to country manager.

While geological exploration work had been undertaken on the special grant areas to date, there was insufficient information available to accurately quantify the value of the net assets at this stage.

The Great Dyke contains the world’s largest known platinum group metals and high grade chrome deposits outside of South Africa. 

Tharisa said the transaction was subject to compliance with the listings requirements of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Tharisa is a European headquartered integrated resource group and owns and operates the Tharisa mine on the south-western limb of South Africa’s Bushveld Complex.

- African News Agency (ANA)