Resource group Tharisa said on Wednesday it had acquired a 26.8 percent shareholding in Karo Mining Holdings for US$4.5 million from Leto Settlement, giving it access to 23,903 hectares on Zimbabwe's Great Dyke containing an estimated 96 Moz of platinum group metals.

Karo Holdings entered into an investment agreement with Zimbabwe's government in March under which it undertook to establish a platinum group metals (PGM) mine, concentrators, smelters, a base metal and precious metals refinery, as well as power generation capacity for the operations with surplus energy capacity made available to the country's power grid.

Through its acquisition, Tharisa has the right but not the obligation to fund further development at the project level, allowing it a measured approach to developing the projects in line with its financial and strategic objectives, thereby creating further low cost diversified PGM and chrome operations, the company said on Wednesday.

"Tharisa was not previously involved in Zimbabwe due to political uncertainty in the country," it said.

"Recent improvements in the political landscape have precipitated a decision by Tharisa to explore geographic diversification opportunities in Zimbabwe, renowned for having the world’s largest PGM deposits outside of South Africa."

Zimbabwe is trying to rebuild its ravaged economy after former president Robert Mugabe, accused of mismanaging it during his 37 year rule, was forced to step down by the military last year.

- African News Agency (ANA)