HomeDiamonds & GemstonesZimbabwe shortlists foreign partners

Zimbabwe shortlists foreign partners

Obert Mpofu,
Zimbabwean Mines
Harare, Zimbabwe — MININGREVIEW.COM — 10 September 2009 – Zimbabwe has shortlisted foreign investors who could be considered to partner in mining diamonds in the Marange fields, at the centre of a dispute between the government and African Consolidated Resources.

Revealing this here, mines minister Obert Mpofu said the government would insist on retaining 50% shares in the mining project. The southern African country adopted an empowerment law in 2008 to compel foreign-owned firms “’ including mines and banks “’ to give up at least 51% control to locals.

Mpofu told Reuters in an interview that Zimbabwe was seeking equal control of the Marange diamond mining project in negotiations with the prospective investors.

“Some companies have been shortlisted, but because of the distractions that investors to Zimbabwe have been facing, these companies have said they would rather keep the negotiations under tight wraps,” he said. “It is a high capital project, but one that has the advantage of quick returns. We are still negotiating on the basis of a 50-50 partnership.”

Mpofu declined to disclose the potential investors, saying the negotiations were at a sensitive and delicate stage.

The Marange diamond fields are at the centre of a dispute between the Zimbabwe government and the London-listed African Consolidated Resources (ACR), who held the claim until it was revoked in 2007.

Mpofu said Zimbabwe was consulting the mining industry on proposed amendments to mining

legislation, which would be tabled in the next parliamentary session that begins later this month.

“The desired outcome of this particular piece of legislation is to ensure that we do not compromise the indigenisation policy, while at the same time avoiding discouragement of investment," he added. “We want a win-win situation “’ an outcome of thorough and extensive consultations that are underway as we speak.”

Mpofu said Zimbabwe would host a two-day mining conference in Harare, starting on 16 September to give existing and potential investors an opportunity to interact with the government. “There has never been a better time than now for investors to gain access to good mineral resources in the country,” he said