Botswana firm eyes Zim gems

Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
World-renowned diamond exploration and project development company, Botswana Diamonds plc (BOD) has acquired shareholding in a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) created by London-listed junior miner, Vast Resources, that will enable the firm to realise its dream of participating in Zimbabwe’s diamond sector.

The agreement will see BOD, which has licences in Botswana and South Africa, coming in as a consulting partner in the development of the Chiadzwa Community Diamond Concession in the Marange Diamond Fields.

BOD’s partnership with Vast provides critical expertise needed to rapidly process exploration and development in Chiadzwa, especially regarding extraction of kimberlitic gems, which are deep seated.

Vast Resources has interests in the Chiadzwa diamonds mining area through a company called Katanga Mining (pvt) Ltd in which the London-listed miner runs a joint venture with the Chiadzwa community.

In a notice released yesterday Vast said it had ceded 2,5 percent shares in the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to BOD.
Vast joins Chinese firm Anjin, Russian entity Alrosa and Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZMDC) among firms licensed to explore gems in Chiadzwa.

“BOD will receive 2,5 percent of the SPV shares so that the shareholdings in the SPV will be BOD 2,5 percent and Vast 97,5 percent and the further terms of the agreement will come into effect,” reads the statement.

“BOD will provide to Vast free of charge immediately and for a period of five years from finalisation the benefit of its know-how (for a minimum of 40 hours per month) as shall be appropriate on all aspects of exploration, mining, processing and marketing in relation to the Chiadzwa Community Diamond Concession.

“Vast will provide all capital requirements for the project commencement on a loan account to SPV up to US$10 million. If BOD wishes to sell or dispose of its interest in Newco, the New Agreement grants Vast the right (but not the obligation) to acquire BOD’s interest in Newco at fair value,” said Vast Resources.

Commenting on the partnership, Vast Resources chief executive officer Mr Andrew Prelea said there was need to review the existing agreement.

“As a result of the recent agreement with the Chiadzwa Community and pre-agreed joint venture terms on the Chiadzwa Community Diamond Concession in the Marange Diamond Fields, the Company was required to review its current agreement with Botswana Diamonds plc (‘BOD’),” said Mr Prelea.

“ . . . and decided that we wished to continue our relationship with BOD as a consulting party that can add significant value to the project,” he said.

Botswana Diamonds prides itself as having an experienced team that has a successful track record of discovery. It helped discover one of the best diamonds deposits in the world — the Karowe mine in Orapa, Botswana — which is revered for its high value stones.

It has also explored successfully in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Russia and boasts experience amounting to about 200 man-years in exploration, development, mining and marketing of diamonds.

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