Russian investors eye DTZ-OZGEO

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Tinashe Makichi

A consortium of Russian investors interested in mining, agriculture and pharmaceuticals is eyeing a significant stake in DTZ-OZGEO as the local miner looks at diversifying its operations following the cancellation of its diamond mining licence in Manicaland.

DTZ-OZGEO is currently targeting new mining projects in the country after its previous projects hit a brick wall. The miner is however frustrated by the delays in reaching a conclusive position with government over its future.

The miner is a joint-venture mining firm established in 1994 and jointly owned by Development Trust of Zimbabwe established by the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo and Russian company Econedra Limited.

“There is a group of investors who are looking at partnering us in our proposed future business ventures. There are targeting an array of sectors including mining, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals among others.

“There has been interest from investors from different countries including Russia to partner us but they have been skeptical of the economic environment considering how DTZ was treated in Chimanimani, when its mining licence was cancelled by government,” DTZ OZGEO executive director Ishmael Shillaev told Business Times.

“All they want is a guarantee on their investments in Zimbabwe and they believe that the environment is not yet ripe to plough big money into Zimbabwe.”

The mining company’s operations have not always been rosy following the closure of its alluvial gold mining operations in 2013 by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA). Two years later, its diamond operations were affected by the consolidation of all diamond mining operations by Government.

Shillaev recently confirmed that there were some engagements going on despite the process taking too long.

He said it was work in progress with regards to securing new investment areas and mining concessions.

Following suspension of DTZ-OZGEO’s Penhalonga operations by EMA, close to 500 workers were made redundant and the company lost an average production of between 20 to 30 kg of gold output per month.

It is estimated that the company lost about $20 million on the gold mining operations.

Government compensated the company with $5,4 million for taking over the mining company’s concession.