Harare – London-listed miner Vast Resources’ quest for Marange diamond mining is set to be escalated following approval of CCDT mining application to mine diamonds in a joint venture with Heritage Concession, joining other new entrants Anjin and Alrosa.
In an announcement on its website, Vast said the Trust has in principle been granted the right to mine diamonds in joint venture on the Heritage Concession (Block T1A of the Marange Diamond Fields) and has appointed Vast as its joint venture partner in the exploration and mining of diamonds in the area.
Last year, Vast concluded a deal with Red Mercury (Pvt) Ltd for exclusive access to the Heritage concession area. Red Mercury is a company owned by the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust (MZ Community Trust), which is registered as a Community Share Ownership Trust under the laws of Zimbabwe and which has received an undertaking from the Government of Zimbabwe for a licence to mine on the Heritage Concession.
The development comes as Government is stepping up efforts to revive a dilapidated economy shattered by high inflation and unemployment.
Under the new Zimbabwe National Diamond Policy, foreign diamond miners are now allowed to own more than 49 percent on condition that rough stones produced from the country are submitted to a beneficiation centre to be operated by the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company.
Speaking to Reuters in London, mines Minister Winston Chitando confirmed the development saying in principle it is agreed, referring to Vast Resources being allowed the right to mine the diamond fields.
In May last year the miner signed a memorandum of understanding with Botswana Diamonds to form a special purpose vehicle to develop resources in Zimbabwe.
Although few miners doubt the country’s mineral resource, many investors are concerned about how much companies can take out because of dollar shortages.
Vast has interests in a number of projects in Zimbabwe including a controlling 25 percent interest in the producing Pickstone-Peerless Gold Mine, a 23.75 percent economic interest in the Eureka Gold Mine, and an 86.67 percent interest in a SPV which has a due diligence access agreement and pre-agreed joint venture terms on a diamond concession within the Marange Diamond Fields, widely considered to be one of the richest sources of alluvial diamonds globally.
Government has an ambitious forecast for diamond output of 4,1 million carats by year-end, up from 1,7 million carats produced in 2018. At its peak in 2012, Zimbabwe’s diamond sector produced 12 million carats.
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