Sunday, June 17, 2018

Russian giant eyes Zim gems

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The world’s largest diamond producer by output, Alrosa of Russia, is interested in investing in exploration and mining in Zimbabwe, while also exploring the prospects of bilateral co-operation in technology transfer.
CEO of the Mirny-headquartered firm, Mr Sergey Ivanov, has already met President Emmerson Mnangagwa and is keen on moving into Zimbabwe.
Harare is crafting a new diamond policy and the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company will be unbundled to open the sector to private investors. In e-mailed responses to The Sunday Mail recently, Mr Ivanov said “pre-work” was underway “to identify possible areas for co-operation”.
Alrosa is mainly engaged in the exploration, manufacturing, marketing and sale of diamonds.
“On April 21, 2018, we met with the President of Zimbabwe, (Cde)Emmerson Mnangagwa. During the meeting, we noted a significant potential for enhancing the interaction with Zimbabwean partners.
“The focus was on consideration of investment opportunities in the exploration and diamond mining in Zimbabwe.
“The Head of State was informed about Alrosa’s readiness to transfer technologies and experience for the development of diamond industry in the country,” said Mr Ivanov.
“In this regard, the company is considering the formulation of a strategy for bilateral co-operation. At the meeting with Minister of Mines, Winston Chitando, held on April 21, we exchanged opinions on the diamond mining agenda.
“We raised the issues on the potential interest of Alrosa to participate in the development of various mineral deposits.
“The company is working to identify promising areas for further co-operation, including investments. A pre-work is currently underway to identify possible areas for co-operation. The company doesn’t exclude the possibility that other delegations will visit the country in the future, as part of the activities to explore the areas of possible co-operation and in case they need additional negotiations or consultations.”
Last year, the 26-year-old firm, which has a footprint in Angola and Botswana, generated more than $4 billion in revenue.
Geological experts say Zimbabwe has massive potential in the diamond sector as kimberlite pipes, which contain the most valuable gems, are yet to be explored and exploited.
Preliminary indications show that there could be kimberlite pipes in areas around Chivi and Zvishavane.