Zimbabwe’s history of diamond exploration and mining had all but vanished during the many years of economic isolation under President Robert Mugabe’s political regime. Following Mugabe’s downfall, investors’ appetite to invest in the country has been rising on the strength of the new government’s favourable stance to foreign investment. Recent amendments to the country’s mining law have reaffirmed the new government’s intention to further open the country to foreign investment. The controversial indigenisation policy which had caused concern among foreign mining firms has been amended.
The requirement for 51% local ownership of foreign mining companies continues to apply to diamonds and platinum mining, where the government or one of its entities must own a majority stake. Notwithstanding this, the indications are that Zimbabwe is open for business and that the local ownership requirements for diamonds and platinum may be liberalised.
Vast Joint Venture
BOD has signed an MoU with Vast Resources plc, an AIM listed exploration company. In terms of the MoU, the two companies would be exchanging past exploration information and forming a special purpose vehicle (‘SPV’) to jointly develop the diamond potential of Zimbabwe. The initial focus of this understanding is on the Marange Diamond Fields (‘MDF’) of eastern Zimbabwe.
Figure 15: Diamonds of Zimbabwe
A separate agreement between BOD and Vast will cover the joint development of diamond properties outside of the MDF in a 50/50 joint venture model.