Diamond project takes off in July

Godfrey Marawanyika

RIO Tinto Zimbabwe Ltd’s Murowa diamond project is set to begin operations in July, making it Zimbabwe’s second major investment initiative since BHP’s Unki project in Shurugwi in 1999. <
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Although BHP was eventually taken over by Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Zimplats), Zimbabwe has failed to attract any new major investment projects besides Murowa and Unki. Construction at the Murowa site has already begun and company officials say they are optimistic the July target is achievable.


Rio’s group human resources manager Aaron Mudhuwiwa confirmed the project would take off during the third quarter of this year.


“The target date is July and we are optimistic that it is possible for the project to commence in that month,” Mudhuwiwa said. “So far the plant is under construction.”


The granting of a US$13,5 million grant from Rio Tinto plc has buoyed the project development. Under the Murowa project, Rio plc, the company’s major shareholder, will provide management, marketing and technical support.


Rio Tinto plc directors this week agreed that its wholly-owned subsidiary of Rio Zimbabwe Holdings should cease to be an ordinary shareholder in RioZim and to stop participating in the election of company directors.


In return RioZim would receive new shares in Murowa Diamonds enough to provide it with the same direct interest as previously held indirectly through RioZim.


Last week government cancelled 13 Exclusive Prospecting Orders issued to mining companies to explore possible mineral deposits in the country.

Four of them belong to RioZim.