Russians eye Zim diamonds

HARARE - Visiting Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov says top Russian mining firms are interested in investing in the Zimbabwean diamond industry.

Addressing a press conference soon after meeting with President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Harare yesterday, Lavrov said three of the companies, Alrosa — which is one of the biggest diamond mining companies in the world, Rosgeo and Uralkali had told him to express interest in the Zimbabwean gemstones to authorities here.

He said this was in addition to the much hyped Darwandale platinum mining deal signed in 2015.

During the meeting, Russian and Zimbabwean governments signed three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) which seek to enhance economic corporation between the two countries.

The MoUs were in the fields of agriculture, mining and industry.

“We laid particular emphasis on the implementation of the joint venture of exploring the Darwandale platinum project, one of the largest deposits in the world which is currently operated by a joint venture between Zimbabwe and Russia.

“We also had good conversations about the good prospects of corporation in the diamond industry and we have also informed our friends about the interest by Russian companies in entering into partnership with our friends in Zimbabwe,” said Lavrov.

The formidable, globally prominent diplomat said Russia was committed to investing in Zimbabwe.

“The feeling of mutual sympathy and friendship mean that our people are very strong and we have a very good political dialogue which is unfolding in an atmosphere of trust. Our aim is then to elevate our economic ties to a level which is going to correspond with our political interactions.

“And today during the meeting, we had the president, we had the vice president, we had ministers; most of them are from the economic growth. We talked about tasks which we need to pursue to strengthen our economic ties,” he said.

He added that more areas of economic corporation would be pursued during the course of this year.

“Indeed today we have seen the signing of a number of MoUs. Professionals and specialists are going to work through these memorandums and then we would talk to the leaderships of the two countries. I do not think that this going to take too much time before a decision is made,” he said.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister Sibusiso Moyo said Lavrov’s visit was symbolic of growing relations with the expansive country, itself rich in diverse natural resources.

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