Happiness Zengeni Business Editor
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa are in Moscow to court investors for the mining sector.
The visit is in response to invitations from the Russian authorities. The two ministers left for the eastern European country on Sunday.
In a recent Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) report, Russia is one of four of the Brics countries that have more than doubled their activities in Zimbabwe’s extractive sector.
A number of Russian companies operate in Zimbabwe. One company, DTZ-OZGEO (Private) Limited is jointly owned by the Development Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ) and a Russian company, Econedra Limited. This company is involved in gold mining in Penhalonga and diamond mining in Chimanimani besides holding several claims in places such as Shurugwi and Vumba.
CNRG said the world’s biggest diamond producer, Alrosa, which produced 26 percent of the world’s diamonds in 2012, is seeking a joint venture partner to carry out geological explorations in Marange.
Russian firms Rostec and Vneshekonombank were part of a consortium that bought a 40 percent stake in a project to develop one of the world’s largest platinum fields in Zimbabwe. They will invest in Ruschrome Mining, a Russian-African joint venture licensed to mine the field.
The Darwendale platinum deposit holds 19 tonnes in proven reserves and 775 total tonnes of metals including palladium, gold, nickel and copper.
Ruschrome is partly owned by the Zimbabwean Government and the Centre of Business Cooperation with Foreign Countries, an association of machinery and defence firms that will retain a 10 percent stake in the project. Ruschrome is currently setting up a pilot open pit platinum mine in Darwendale.
Minister Chinamasa told The Herald Business on Sunday before he left that while they are in Russia they will also explore joint venture opportunities in mineral exploration.
This comes as Government is in the final stages of reviewing the 2004 guidelines on joint ventures with the view of giving them legal force and fine-tuning in order to avoid uncertainties and delays in the processing of projects.
Addressing members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ) Winter School in Victoria Falls last week, Minister Chinamasa, in his keynote speech, said the only way to attract foreign direct investment is to reform the joint venture guidelines so as to boost the confidence of the investors.
“The 2004 guidelines are being reviewed so as to clarify the entry and how foreign investors can partner the local companies,” Minister Chinamasa said.
“We are encouraging joint ventures in roads rehabilitation, railway, and power and energy sector as well as in the information and technology sector (ICT),” he said.
Minister Chinamasa said they will be meeting business people from different Russian groupings.