China's Anjin Investments, Russia's Alrosa Eyeing Zimbabwe Operations

Mining and Exploration
01/04/2019 15:33

Chinese mining company Anjin is set to resume mining in Zimbabwe at the Chiadzwa mining fields in Marange in May this year, while Russia’s Alrosa will complete setting up its office by the end of next month, reports The Sunday Mail from Zimbabwe. Anjin had to shut operations back in 2015 as the Mugabe administration forced the closure of seven mining companies and the subsequent merger of their assets into the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC). Now the company is expected to invest an initial US$20 million to restart operations. 

Anjin Investments has had a difficult history in Zimbabwe: in 2012, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces economic, trade and financial restrictions, blocked Anjin’s US$200 million deal, prompting Anjin to find a way around the measures, which they did. This resulted in Anjin being accused of 'smuggling' the 3.7 million carats of diamonds involved to Shanghai, though the company says the shipments to China were government-sanctioned and worth $112 million rather than $200 million. Activists had also accused the company of various human-rights violations and evading payment of taxes and royalties. Anjin is a joint venture between a Chinese company, Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Co. Ltd., and Matt Bronze Enterprises, which was formed by the Zimbabwe Defense Ministry and the Zimbabwe Defense Forces through an intermediary company.

Zimbabwe's government is attempting to make these issues a thing of the past and spur new foreign investment, and is now targeting US$400 million in revenues from diamond mining. Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said fresh investments will complement the initiatives the ZCDC is currently implementing. “ZCDC is on a huge expansion drive and is going to produce 4.1 million carats this year on the back of the conglomerate plant that was commissioned by President Mnangagwa, toward the end of last year. Anjin, which used to operate in the area, is now back on the ground. We expect that it will commence production, at the latest, by end of May. We are looking at it being a significant producer in that regard,” he said. Last year, Zimbabwe produced 2.8 million carats. 

A press attaché at the Russian embassy in Zimbabwe said that officials from Alrosa are working on surveying the areas for the diamond operations as well as setting up an office in the country.