THE Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company (ZCDC) has announced plans to re-open the defunct River Ranch Mine in Beitbridge as part of efforts to expand diamond revenue generation.
River Ranch, which is under Rani Investments, was placed under liquidation by the High Court in 2012 after failing to attract investors almost five years after its operations ceased.
The late Sheikh Adel Aujan, a Saudi, who had a controlling stake in the mine, died on January 22 last year, aged 70.
Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s family holds a 20% stake through Khupukile Resources, whose directors are former Zanu PF legislator Tirivanhu Mudariki and Mujuru’s daughter Nyasha.
Rani Investments that has 80% stake in the mine filed a High Court application early this year requesting the removal of the company from liquidation in terms of Section 227 of the Companies Act (Chapter 24:03).
In opposing the application, the liquidator, Winsley Militala, said there was no satisfactory reason for the liquidation to be set aside.
He therefore asked the High Court to consider the fact that Rani Investments was not yet able to pay its liabilities and thus could not continue to trade.
However, in an interview with Business Times recently, Morris Mpofu, the ZCDC CEO, said the company had set aside a $400 million investment package for the next five years that will see River Ranch Mine expand its operations.
“Of that $400 million, a total of $100 million will primarily target exploration,” Mpofu disclosed. “Exploitation will, however, not be confined to the Chiadzwa diamond deposits, but will target other deposits in Chimanimani as well as the known kimberlite in Chihota and Mwenezi.”
He confirmed that this would see the reopening of other mines across the country to create more employment.
River Ranch’s reopening and exploration strategy is earmarked for 2019 under a sustainable conglomerate exploitation programme. Mpofu said the strategy was contained in the state miner’s Diamond Value Management (DVM), which will primarily target exploration.
“This would be specifically in light of the depletion of the easy to mine alluvial deposits, evaluation, mining and diamond processing to unbundle the real value of the diamonds,” Mpofu added.
According to sources, local and international companies have shown interest in acquiring the River Ranch Mine. The companies are from Zambia, South Africa, Botswana, USA, Britain, China, Canada and Russia. The sources said offers were between $10 million and $20 million.