AIM-listed junior miner Vast Resources Plc has partnered Botswana Diamond Plc to seek opportunities in diamond exploration in Zimbabwe.
By Melody Chikono
This follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two companies which will see them exchanging information derived from past exploration for diamonds in Zimbabwe.
Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will also form a jointly-owned special purpose vehicle to develop and exploit diamond resources in the country.
Any exploitation of diamonds in the country will be carried out in accordance with Zimbabwe’s joint ownership laws in relation to diamonds.
Last year, government overhauled its indigenisation policy as it moves to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country as part of economic reforms. However, the regulations compelling investors to sell controlling equity stakes still apply to diamonds and platinum.
Vast Resources CE Andrew Prelea said the initiative follows government’s new thrust to open the country for business.
“As a result of the new government’s desire to open up business in Zimbabwe, we believe the time has now come for us to make use of our historic diamond knowledge with a view to bringing value for all stakeholders in developing Zimbabwe’s diamond resources. We are delighted to be working with Botswana Diamonds in order to achieve this,” he said.
Vast Resources acquired a database of diamonds in Zimbabwe in 2008 and began to carry out its own exploration in the field in 2010. Botswana Diamonds, which has independently acquired a diamond database in the country, along with its significant networks, has expertise in diamond exploration, development and mining.
In particular, the Botswana company has access to technology relating to extracting diamonds from hard rock.
The company, which has operational mines in Romania, also has interests in a number of projects in Southern Africa including a controlling 25% interest in the producing Pickstone-Peerless Gold Mine in Zimbabwe.