Zim, Russia ink massive deals

  • Trade, investment agreements sealed

  • $1bn platinum project to be commissioned

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Mr Denis Manturov exchange  Memorandum Of Understanding documents after a signing ceremony in Harare yesterday.— (Picture by Munyaradzi Chamalimba)

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Mr Denis Manturov exchange Memorandum Of Understanding documents after a signing ceremony in Harare yesterday.— (Picture by Munyaradzi Chamalimba)

Felex Share and Elita Chikwati
THE economy got a major boost yesterday following the signing of several trade and investment deals between the Government and the visiting high-powered Russian delegation in Harare, ahead of the commissioning of a $1 billion Integrated Platinum Group Metals Project in Darwendale today.

Highly-respected international diplomat, Russian foreign minister Mr Sergey Lavrov is expected in Harare this morning to commission the project which has been dubbed the biggest in Zimbabwe, and among the biggest mining ventures in the world.

The deals come hard on the heels of nine mega infrastructure deals signed between Zimbabwe and China during President Mugabe’s State visit to Beijing last month.
The deals, which feed into the infrastructure and utilities cluster of Zim-Asset, are expected to boost economic turnaround and spawn over 20 000 jobs.

Yesterday’s agreements were made during the First Session of the Zimbabwe-Russia Inter-Governmental Joint Commission on Economic, Trade, Scientific and Technical Co-operation co-chaired by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Mr Denis Manturov.

The Joint Commission was attended by several Cabinet ministers and Russian businesspersons with interests in mining, energy, agriculture, education and infrastructure development.

The Russian delegation, which arrived yesterday morning, is in Zimbabwe on a three-day official visit and will be joined by Mr Lavrov for the commissioning of the $1 billion Integrated Platinum Group Metals Project.

The project, expected to see the setting up of concentrators and a smelter, is a joint venture between the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and state-owned high tech corporation, Rostec and VB Bank.

This project is expected to significantly boost value-addition and beneficiation which are key pillars of Zim-Asset.
Minister Manturov said Russia was ready to assist Zimbabwe in different sectors, including offering expertise.

“I am happy that we have finalised (the deals). This will promote the launching of bilateral projects relating to mining development, energy, agriculture, communication and health,” he said.

“We should now actualise co-operation and open new prospects. It is really impressive that in such a short time we managed to come to the signing of various agreements during this inaugural session of the Inter-governmental commission. I believe there are vast opportunities and cooperation in various spheres, especially in mining.”

ZMDC acting general manager, Mr Wilson Chinzou, signed an MoU with OMZ senior vice president Mr Igor Molibog that will see the Russian firm providing mining equipment.

Minister Manturov said the Darwendale project would be one of the largest in the world, opening the route for more companies to enter the Zimbabwean market, as a “good legal base” had been created through the signing of the agreements.

“We believe that such a project will enable the supply of Russian equipment to Zimbabwe which will be needed to support this project. As the volumes of trade and exchange grow, we believe Zimbabwe will breed access for Russian supplies to other African markets.

“We know that there are a number of Russian investors in a number of spheres including agriculture and industry who are keen to enter the Zimbabwean market and we are studying various opportunities in the energy sector and a company is ready to enter Zimbabwe.”

Minister Mumbengegwi said it was high time relations between Harare and Moscow took an economic dimension.
He said the agreements signed with the Russians should turn around the Zimbabwean economy which has been  battered by the West’s illegal economic sanctions regime.

“The sanctions targeted the vital sectors of the economy up to the extent of barring Zimbabwean natural resources on the international market,” he said.
“Our equipment is obsolete and needs urgent attention and it is our hope that what we are agreeing will see us fully realising our economic blueprint (Zim-Asset).”
Minister Mumbengegwi thanked Russia for standing by Zimbabwe during its “hard times.”

“The solidarity and support speeded up the process of the liberation struggle and in 2008, when western countries imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe, it was amazing that a group of countries declared a peaceful country to get sanctions. Had it not been for Russia exercising her veto power on that resolution, Zimbabwe would have been totally destroyed.”

Earlier on officials from Rosoboronexport—the sole state intermediary agency for Russia’s trade of defense-related products— met Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi and explored different areas of cooperation.

Minister Sekeramayi, who was accompanied by Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga and Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri, said Zimbabwe was looking “elsewhere” for the supply of weapons and spare parts following the imposition of illegal sanctions.
“They have been briefing us on what they have and we were also advising them on what we may need,” he said.

“As you know, our Defence Forces have been equipped largely with weaponry from Britain and other western countries and we are under sanctions from these countries and we cannot even buy spare parts from them and naturally we have to look elsewhere.”

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  • Judas Iscariot

    After the Marange diamonds,i have become sceptical of these so called massive deals that are meant to boost the local economy.At least govt is now projecting realistic numbers in terms of jobs that are going to be created by these projects, under Zim-asset.20 000 sounds more realistic than the millions we were being promised before.

    • todini

      Anyway thank you to the sanctions against Russia which has pushed Russia closer to Zimbabwe. The relationship is not openly independent but its better than no relationship at all. However, the ability of large scale mining to create adequate employment are already under question. Zimbabwe needs to posh the sharky – large mouths of Cashberts and allow the financing of the small scale sector which absorbs larger numbers of workers. We have to start somewhere and here is one place to start.

      • magonde

        Russia has always been with Zimbabwe from the time of liberation and continued to support Zimbabwe against western imperialism.

    • Hacha Ndizvo

      I have never been able to discern any difference between Russian business and western business. These people operate on the same compass – PROFIT. They are not donors or missionaries. The only difference is that Russians – like the Chinese – do not ask questions about the person they a dealing with – they may as well deal with ISIS as long as they get to pocket their profits.

      • mukwerekwere

        Spot on!

  • Chokureva

    talking,talking and talking without results is just uttering and making noises. We have to make a review of all this after the platinum mine has been set and people are employed. I do not see the need to make noises now when these are only pies in the sky. Please find better headings then raising people’s hopes on memorandum of understandings and we know the Russians are demanding a lot that the Zim government will not meet.

    • maita

      If they are commissioning the mine today it means work has been done hopefully we will not be seeing people sitting under trees and call it commissioning. We expect to see a tour of machinery and work in progress that is commissioning. This economy Minister Mumbembegwi was not battered by sanctions on 120 individuals and entities but by your corrupt dealings that is why Zimbabwe has realised nothing from Diamonds and some of the minerals.

    • observer

      Whats your point? Being emotional,whilst understandable, can cloud your judgement and blind you from seeing progress when it starts & can make you vulnerable and an easy tool of destabilisation. If Herald had not reported on this Russian visit we wouldnt know our Gvt is signing deals. How do you know “the Russians are demandig a lot”, enligthen us.

  • MotorMouth!

    Idzi ndidzo shamwari kwadzo idzi.

  • Truth seeker

    So, Indiginization? Yes or no? Does it even still exist.

  • Eagle Eye

    the Zisco – Essar deal was commissioned on August 3 2011 by the President,but there is nothing on the ground,een the workers are still suffering! 4 years no salary! lets walk the talk on these deals!

  • magonde

    Britain, America, Europe, invaded Iraq, Afghanistan, and removed a legitimate government in Kiev. Crimea was always Russian and they just took it back from neo-Nazis. Matabeleland was never part of SA. If you want SA, just pack and leave. Tarubva, the correct spelling is Matabeleland and not Matebeleland.

    • Tarubva

      Hey, don’t be hypocritical. What do you mean Crimea has always been Russia? This was a Ukrainian territory that was annexed by your dear Russian friends, and you want to justify the unjustifiable. Its surprising to hear that, considering how the regime you support always parrot this sovereignty obsession.

  • magonde

    Congratulations Zimbabwe and Russia. Zimbabwe is now going in the right direction. A friend in need is a friend in deed. You are friends in deed.

    • stanleykates

      This is great; Zimbabwe woye !

  • Tati

    Totenda dzamwa dza swera ne benzi.

  • Massive Deal

    What is a Massive Deal

  • just askin’

    Are these deals subject to the usual indiginisation constraints i.e. 51% controlled by Zimbabwe with the remaining 49% retained by Russia?

  • Gushungo WekuGP

    Stop this silly habit of giving away Zim’s resources to foreigners! Zimbabwe resources belong to our children not political parties.

    • Dr Charles Mheni

      Yes they belong to our children who are busy avoiding education, idolizing rap “music” (defilement down of our race), becoming criminals, and drug addicts, as well as supporting the enemies who are oppressing us. Too much western media, and indoctrinated white-washed zombies exposure. They will be as blind, and stupid as black Americans if they are left like this. If we had isolated our media, and focused on and supported youth pro-activity, productivity, and making youth volunteer, instead of day in day out of idolizing immoral western “entertainment” (brainwashing). Even vakuru are guilty of this.

      • Gushungo WekuGP

        Whether or kids are responsible or not is not the point, Zimbabwe is still their inheritance and it is not for Zanupf to give it away to anyone for that matter

  • http://mafaro.co.uk/ GENERAL MBEZO

    In the same paper there are two articles with two different monetary value for the same platinum project one is saying $3billion and this one say $1 billion? What is the correct figure..the same situation is repeated in the Kariba south exetension project..two values for the same project ..What is the problem?

  • http://mafaro.co.uk/ GENERAL MBEZO

    As usual my comments await approval forever…!