Botswana Diamonds (BOD), the AIM and BSE listed explorer, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Vast Resources, the AIM-listed mining company with operating mines in Romania and Zimbabwe for the exploitation of diamonds in Zimbabwe. Under the agreement, the two companies will exchange past exploration information on areas prospective for diamonds in Zimbabwe and form a jointly-owned special purpose vehicle to develop and exploit diamond resources. Both companies now have a Zimbabwe diamond database.
Back in September 2008, Vast acquired a database relating to diamonds in Zimbabwe. It has also, until 2010, carried out its own exploration in the field using information from the database. BOD has independently acquired a Zimbabwe diamond database and, along with its significant networks, has expertise in diamond exploration, development and mining. John Teeling, BOD Chairman, commented, "Zimbabwe is a country with excellent diamond potential. Both Botswana Diamonds and Vast Resources have extensive experience in and knowledge of the country. It is opening for business and both BOD and Vast are keen to make the most of this opportunity. I look forward to providing our shareholders with further updates in due course."
Andrew Prelea, Chief Executive of Vast Resources, commented: “As a result of the new government's desire to open up business in Zimbabwe we believe the time has now come for us to make use of our historic diamond knowledge with a view to bringing value for all stakeholders in developing Zimbabwe's diamond resources. We are delighted to be working with Botswana Diamonds in order to achieve this.” In December 2017, the Government of Zimbabwe announced it would be relaxing laws that require black citizens hold majority stakes (51%) in companies as it looks to restore investor confidence and boost economic growth. At the time, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said, “Zimbabwe is now open for business, and is putting in place supportive measures that seek to rebuild confidence and compete for investment, and enhance the economy’s competitiveness.” This past February, the government extended the relaxation of ownership laws to companies mining platinum or diamonds.