Russia and Zimbabwe in $3bn mining deal negotiations
The delegation led by Industry and Trade minister Denis Manturov on Monday signed $3 billion platinum mining deal ahead of the commissioning of the project the following day.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was also expected at the commissioning of the Darwendale Integrated Platinum Group Metals project.
His Zimbabwean counterpart Simbarashe Mumbengegwi praised Russia for standing by Zimbabwe, and retaining faith in a country that is under economic and trade sanctions.
“On behalf of the government and the people of Zimbabwe, we want to express our gratitude for your continued support to this country during an era where we were finding it difficult to penetrate the international markets,” he told the Russian delegation.
“It is in that regard that in April 2014 during a meeting, you identified the Darwendale project.
“You have been there for us when the western powers in 2008 wanted us to be discussed by the Security Council.
“You extended your veto and blocked the resolution when they wanted to punish us, and if it were not for you, we could have been destroyed’.”
Russia is part of a group of the world’s fastest growing economies that include Brazil, India, China and South Africa, going by the acronym Brics.
Zimbabwe is the third producer of platinum after South Africa and Russia, but has the second-largest known reserves after South Africa.
Manturov said Russia was keen to invest in several other sectors in Zimbabwe including agriculture, energy, infrastructure development, tourism, and health.
In June this year, a Russian consortium made up of Vi Holdings, state defence conglomerate Rostec and Vneseconombank (VEB), announced plans to explore the platinum concession in Darwendale.
Russia has in recent years increased its mining interests in Zimbabwe where it is already exploiting gold and diamonds.
The Darwendale project, with production capacity of 600,000 ounces of platinum annually, is expected to become Zimbabwe’s biggest mining operation.
Zimbabwe has three platinum blocks stretching along a 550 km mineral range known as the Great Dyke.
Two weeks ago, President Robert Mugabe led a delegation to China where he signed what they termed mega deals projected to change the economic fortunes of Zimbabwe.