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LocalNews

The invisible hand in Vast Resources JV

By Business Reporter – Wednesday 30 September 2020

HARARE (Mining Index) – A SECRET partner is alleged to be part of a diamond joint venture involving AIM listed, Vast Resources Enterprise (VRE) with a community represented by chief Marange, Mining Index has established.

According to a source, the JV between the Vast Resources and the Marange community is not only a tripartite agreement involving the British investor/Chiadzwa Mineral Resources (CMR) and the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC).

The source further alleged the secret partner as the most dominant voice in the Katanga joint venture (JV) that determines the future and operationalisation of the deal.

“Vast Resources wants to do a joint venture with the community represented by chief Marange. All I can say at this point is that in the Vast Resources deal, the most influential man in Zimbabwe is involved through one of his sons, but the story has not yet been made public, or may never be made public” said a source who requested anonymity.

On 26th September 2019, VRE concluded an official joint venture with Chiadzwa Mining Resources (Pvt) Limited, a company designated to represent Chiadzwa Community interests in the Concession.

Vast now waits to sign a second JV between Katanga ZCDC.

While the delay in concluding the Vast Resources JV is not known, similar mining deals involving international investors from the East were concluded without effort.

For instance, in July last year, government, through ZCDC concluded a diamond JV with Alrosa, a Russian gem company to develop diamond deposits in Zimbabwe.

Furthermore, Anjin, a Chinese company resumed diamond operations in Marange on the 1st of March 2019.

However, the British investors have been patiently waiting for over one year to get the Katanga JV finalised.

The Zimbabwe National Diamond Policy of December 2018 gave only four companies rights to explore and mine diamonds in Zimbabwe – the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), Murowa Diamonds, Anjin Investment and Alrosa.

The approved four companies cover exploration, mining, processing, valuation, marketing, beneficiation, value addition, as well as the issues of capacity building, security and law enforcement.

The policy further alluded that “any other entity or person with diamond mining title shall approach any one of the four approved companies for Joint Venture arrangements.

While the policy stipulated that private players shall participate in value addition after cleaning and sorting upon obtaining the necessary approvals, it seems those linked to top government officials have had a chance to dig into the diamond pit.

Matt Bronze, a subsidiary of the Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) wholly owned by the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) formed a joint venture to form Anjin Investment with a Chinese company, Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group (AFFEC). ENDS// www.miningindex.co.zw

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