Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
Vast Resources, the London-listed company, has concluded an agreement with Red Mercury, an investment vehicle owned by Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust that will see it exploiting diamonds in Chiadzwa area believed to have great potential for significant new discoveries of alluvial and conglomerate.
Chiadzwa is the country’s largest known diamond field, where nine private investors, in partnership with the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, operated since 2010 before the government terminated the joint ventures in 2015.
The government said the firms had failed to renew mining grants and established Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company to take control of the diamond claims.
Under the agreement-Red Mercury – the holder of Heritage Concession will provide a mining licence while Vast will raise funding for exploration and mine development.
“The concession area has not been mined before and by virtue of its geographical positioning within the Marange diamond fields it is anticipated to contain economically viable diamondiferous alluvial as well as conglomerate ore resources,” Mr Mark Mabhudhu, Vast Resources Zimbabwe director said in a statement.
Vast Resources will carry out initial due diligence on the concession, a conditions precedent to implement of terms of the agreement for exploration, mining and marketing.
The deal will, however, be subject to Zimbabwe’s diamond policy which the government is already working on.
The Vast, Marange-Zimunya partnership is the first concern to get access to the Chiadzwa diamond fields since the previous Government of President Mugabe kicked out private players in 2015 but the concession is not part of where state miner, the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), is currently mining.
The deal will see the company extend its foothold in Zimbabwe as it already has interest in Pickstone Gold Mine in Mashonaland West as well as Eureka Gold Mine in Mashonaland Central.
Zimbabwe has since November seen increased investor appetite on the back of the new dispensation’s push for an investor friendly environment for economic revival premised on President Mnangagwa’s “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” mantra.
The improving environment has also been noted by Vast Resources whose Chief Executive Andrew Prelea, said the company that has always had an interest in Zimbabwe’s diamond sector has been encouraged by the country’s investment environment.
“Shareholders will be aware that we have long held an historic diamond interest in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“With an evolving political backdrop, the country’s mining landscape is beginning to change and new opportunities are emerging.
“Whilst we await further developments on our historic claims, we are delighted to be strengthening our operating presence in the area and building on our relations in-country through this agreement with Red Mercury, which we believe paves the way for future growth,” he said.