Harare – AIM listed, Vast Resources plc, has dismissed doubts over its chances to acquire licencing to mine diamond in Marange, dismissing the granting of licensing to other players as of no relevance to its cause.
The Marange Diamond Fields are widely regarded as the richest alluvial diamond deposits globally.
In August 2018, the Company announced an agreement between Vast and Red Mercury (Pvt) Ltd, a company owned by the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust.
The agreement provides for the formation of a joint venture, subject to legal due diligence, between Vast and Red Mercury to develop, mine and market diamonds produced from the Heritage Concession in the Marange Diamond Fields.
The Heritage Concession is close to Vast’s historic Marange Diamond Field claims and is understood to be an extension of the same geological system.
However, this plan has been subject to speculation as to whether it will succeed following the government’s decision to grant mining rights to Russia’s Alrosa and Anjin, a Chinese company.
The company has through a publication on its website moved on to put those speculation to rest, saying the granting of mining rights to other players is of no relevance.
“The recent speculation in the Zimbabwe press regarding Russian and the Chinese companies being promised licences to mine diamonds in Zimbabwe and Vast not being given a licence is of no relevance.
“Red Mercury, being a company owned by Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust, has received an undertaking from the Government of Zimbabwe for a licence to mine on the Heritage Concession, (although no mining licence is yet in place) and Vast obtained its interest through its agreement with Red Mercury,” reads part of the company’s statement.
The company holds a positive view of the country’s economic outlook despite the prevailing economic and political challenges and the potential risks these could pose to investing in the country.
“The Board holds the opinion that the recent unrest seen in some areas of Zimbabwe will subside and the President’s focus on attracting foreign investors is still at the forefront of his agenda.
“A significant amount of preparatory work has been performed which underpins management’s confidence in the value of the Heritage Concession…,” the company said.
The above will however be subject to the Board’s satisfaction regards a clear path for investment and repatriation of funds and the licence is in place and valid.
Vast Resources has a 25% indirect interest in the Pickstone-Peerless Gold Mine, and mining claims surrounding the former Giant Gold Mine, in Zimbabwe, over both of which it retains Board control.
The 584ha Pickstone-Peerless Gold Mine is located 100km south-west of Harare and has historically produced over 400,000oz gold. Pickstone-Peerless has a current JORC Resource of 62 million tonnes grading 1.8 g/t, containing 3.56 million ounces of gold.
Included in this Resource is an open-pittable Ore Reserve of 16.6Mt grading at 1.9 g/t for 1.02 million ounces of gold.
In addition to its Zimbabwe portfolio, Vast Resources holds a 23.75% interest in the Eureka Gold Mine in Zimbabwe. The mine is situated about 150km north of Harare and 300km from the Pickstone-Peerless mine.
Eureka is a modern gold mine designed to produce up to 70,000oz of gold per annum from an open pit operation. Operations were suspended in 2000 due to high costs and low gold prices. The mine is currently on care and maintenance and the Company is focussed on recommencing production in the near term.
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