China relations led Zimbabwe to allow Anjin back into gem mining

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Anjin Investments Ltd. was last month allowed to resume diamond mining in Zimbabwe as the African country moved to improve relations with China, according to a senior government official.

Zimbabwe has signed cooperation agreements with China spanning infrastructure and agriculture, Polite Kambamura, the deputy mines minister, said in an interview in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Anjin is one of several companies that were forced to shut down in 2016 after policies introduced by former President Robert Mugabe prevented foreign investors from holding majority stakes in its platinum and diamond mines, and amid a dispute over the payment of taxes. The Chinese company had been challenging the termination in court.

“Anjin was brought back because of an agreement with the Chinese government,” Kambamura said. “We had to bring them back for public relations reasons.”

Anjin is expected to resume production by the end of May at the latest and plans to expand to new areas, the state-controlled Sunday Mail reported last month, citing Mines Minister Winston Chitando.

The government sees diamonds as one way to help revive the mining industry, which suffered years of decline under Mugabe. Zimbabwe is targeting output of 4.1 million carats this year, with an estimated value of $400 million.