Govt to cede 70% ownership to Russia’s Aldrosa in diamonds deal

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By Leopold Munhende

RUSSIAN Diamond exploration and mining giant Alrosa will have 70% stake in its joint venture with state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) in Manicaland with a provision set for possible expansion ‘in the territory of the whole country,’ according to their agreement.

Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa revealed that although efforts will be made to ensure a much favourable parity between Alrosa and ZCDC, the structure will be in favour of the Russian firm.

“The shareholding will however be renegotiated at agreed intervals of the project cycle up to a split of 49-51% in favour of Alrosa.

“ZCDC will subscribe to 30% shareholding in Alrosa Zimbabwe, so that is how the joint venture company will undertake this project, as you are aware Alrosa is number one in terms of exploration, mining and even marketing and beneficiation of diamonds,” said Mutsvangwa.

“That certainly will take us into the global league of diamond production, there are quite a lot of advantages.”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, at inception, amended the country’s controversial black empowerment law which gave locals a mandatory 51 percent plus stake in all foreign firms operating in Zimbabwe.

Only diamond and platinum exploration, mining and marketing retained the mandatory 51% local ownership which government seems to have ignored.

Already Alrosa has injected US$1.6 million into the operationalisation of the joint venture while US$12 million has already been earmarked for exploration in the diamond rich region and across the country.

“According to the terms of the agreement, ALROSA gets a 70% controlling stake for the development of greenfield projects, ZCDC – 30%.

The new joint venture will be able to work not only with the licences ZCDC has today, but also in the territory of the whole country. In case a new prospective area is discovered, the company will contact directly the Zimbabwe Ministry of Mines and Mining Development requesting a new licence for this area,” reads ALROSA’s statement on its official website.

ZCDC chairman Kilian Ukama and Alrosa chief executive Sergey Ivanov signed the agreement in the presence of Mnangagwa, Russian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Sergey Bakharev and cabinet ministers.

Alrosa’s website says it controls some 27% of the total diamond exploration, mining and marketing market.