Govt investigates Rio Tinto shares disposal

07 Apr, 2016 - 00:04 0 Views

The Herald

Government is conducting an investigation into the disposal of shareholding by Rio Tinto in its Zimbabwe operations Murowa Diamond Mine and Sengwa Colliery last year, a senior Government official said yesterday.

Last year global mining giant Rio Tinto, announced the disposal of its 78 percent shareholding in Murowa Mine in the Midlands town of Zvishavane, and a 50 percent stake in Sengwa coal fields.

RioZim, a listed local independent mining company, controlled the remaining shares in both Murowa and Sengwa coal fields, the site for a planned 1 400 megawatt thermal power station.

“Rio Tinto has completed the sale of its 78 percent interest in Murowa Diamonds and 50 percent interest in Sengwa Colliery Ltd (Sengwa) to RZ Murowa Holdings Limited,” the company said when it announced its exit.

During a question and answer session in the National Assembly yesterday, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Fred Moyo said the Government was now seeking clarity on how the transaction was carried out.

“We are still verifying the manner in which the shares changed hands,” he said.

Deputy Minister Moyo said because the matter was still under investigation, no further information could be availed on the transaction.

Recently, the Zvishavane-based miner assured its stakeholders that the February Government directive for all diamond mining companies in Chiadzwa and Chimanimani to halt production did not affect it.

“Our attention has been drawn to the press statement of February 22, 2016 made by the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Walter Chidhakwa on the above matter. We hereby wish to advise all our stakeholders who include our financiers, suppliers, shareholders and employees that Murowa Diamonds is not part of what the Minister said,” the company said in a statement.

In February diamond mining companies in Chiadzwa and Chimanimani were told to cease operations and were given 90 days to remove their machinery from

the sites after they resisted Government proposals to merge their operations.

Government is taking over the affected mining companies, in which it had 50 percent shareholding, and proceeding to merge them into the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company in a move meant to improve revenue inflows and transparency. — New Ziana.

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