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15 Jan, 2019 15:28

Russia’s diamond titan returns to Zimbabwe to help country regain its former luster

Russia’s diamond titan returns to Zimbabwe to help country regain its former luster

The world’s largest diamond producer, Russia’s Alrosa, is ready to launch operations in Zimbabwe two years after mining projects in the crisis-stricken country were shelved, the company chief executive Sergey Ivanov said.

According to Ivanov, the details of the projects will be negotiated in the near future. Alrosa is reportedly planning to continue exploration of the region with the support of the Zimbabwean government.

“I’m sure we’ll be able to discuss prospects of our participation in the sphere of geologic exploration activities and development of deposit with a high degree of exploration maturity,” Ivanov told journalists.

“We are ready to share all of Alrosa's technology when it comes to grading and preparing diamonds for sale, as well as the necessary know-how so that Zimbabwe could get back the position the country had on the global diamond mining market for several years,” he added.

In December, the Russian diamond miner set up a subsidiary Alrosa (Zimbabwe) Limited in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare. Alrosa’s geologists and mining engineers will arrive in the country in February to start operations, according to the company.

According to Ivanov, Zimbabwe’s authorities are currently implementing a wide range of legislative changes that would let Alrosa enter the country’s market and negotiate more serious projects with Zimbabwean partners.

On Monday, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa said that the southern African country is counting on Alrosa’s support to expand its diamond industry. Mnangagwa is making his first visit to Moscow since becoming president. He succeeded Robert Mugabe in November 2017, who ruled the country for 38 years.

Alrosa’s major production assets are based in Russia, but the company also runs operations in Angola and stopped working in Zimbabwe in 2016. The African country's diamond production has seen a dramatic plunge of nearly 75 percent over the past five years.

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