Good news for River Ranch Mine

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CLAYTON MASEKESA

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.