July 16, 2019

Diamond giant flexes muscle

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Leroy Dzenga

Six months after opening offices in Zimbabwe, a Russian diamond firm has signed a joint venture agreement with Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), to begin their operations.

Alrosa, who committed to Zimbabwe after President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s visit to Russia in January, produce 30 percent of the world’s rough diamonds.

The joint venture will see the company and ZCDC combining efforts in diamond mining in Manicaland.

At the signing ceremony in the capital Harare, Alrosa President Mr Sergey Ivanov commended the process leading up to the agreement.

“For Russians and Zimbabweans diamond business is of paramount importance. During President Mnangagwa’s first visit to Russia in January, he invited our company to come and explore in Zimbabwe.

We came and in a very short period of time with less bureaucratic issues we signed an agreement. We hope to move with the same pace in the next few months,” Mr Ivanov said.

The initial contribution by the Russians will be a $12 million facility which will fund exploration processes.

Zimbabwe`s President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised to support the functioning of the pact between the two diamond companies.

“Most of you recall in 2018, Zimbabwe launched its diamond policy which allowed four companies to mine diamonds in Zimbabwe. The adoption of the policy opened up opportunities through partnerships and joint ventures. This is yet another milestone under the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra.

My government will do its part to guarantee the success of this joint partnership,” President Mnangagwa said.

Besides monetary rewards, Zimbabwe could also benefit through skills transfer, community empowerment and infrastructure development, according to Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando.

The exploration will focus on rough diamonds and then move to kimberlites at a later stage.

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