British mining executive flies into Harare to recover diamonds from RBZ after 12 year dispute, thanks Mnangagwa

Andrew Prelea
Spread the love

LONDON – United Kingdom miner Vast Resources says it is finalising the recovery of a parcel of 129,400-carats of rough diamonds in Zimbabwe after a 12-year dispute.

The company successfully sued the country’s Mines and Mining Development ministry early this year and now plans to sell the diamonds through a tender.

It surrendered gems from the Marange diamond fields amid claims it had exploited them on claims previously owned by De Beers.

In an update issued Monday the company said: “Andrew Prelea, the company’s chief executive officer, is currently in Zimbabwe as the company finalises the recovery of the historic parcel of 129,400 rough diamonds held in safe custody at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe pursuant to the High Court Order in the company’s favour.”

Vast, which has has mines and projects in Romania, Tajikistan and Zimbabwe, began formal proceedings to recover the gems last December and won a default order against the Mines and Mining Development ministry.

“Upon the finalisation of the process the Company will recommence its focus on the finalisation of the mining agreement on the Community Diamond Concession in the Marange Diamond Fields,” the company says on its website.

Regarding its operations in the country, Vast Resources says; “In September 2019, the Company announced it has signed a Joint Venture Agreement with Chiadzwa Mineral Resources, a company designated to represent the Chiadzwa Community interests in the Concession.

“This resulted in the formation of Katanga Mining. A further Joint Venture Agreement between Katanga and the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company, a government entity which represents the Republic of Zimbabwe in the diamond mining sector, is set to be officially signed.”

The London based mining and resource development company, Vast Resources has hailed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration for commitment in resolving legacy issues at a time when the miner’ share price has gone up.

This follows the successful resolution of the firm’s trapped diamonds saga which has dragged on since 2009.

The gems have been held in the custody of the RBZ since 2010, pending the determination of an appeal against the High Court’s decision in 2009. Vast resources began formal legal action in the High Court of Zimbabwe in December 2022 which came to finality this week after production of a court order bringing the matter to a close.

“The order should allow for the start of a lawful and transparent release into its custody of a historic parcel of 129,400 carats of rough diamonds, held in safe custody at the RBZ. The stones will be independently cleaned and valued for the purpose of selling through a tender process.

“Vast Resources PLC shares rose Thursday after it said that the High Court of Zimbabwe has granted a default order against the country’s Mines and Mining Development Minister, relating to historic diamond claims. The shares went up at 0,2 pence, or 25% at 1 penny,” said the company.

The signed High Court order is expected in the coming days and once the processes are finalized, Vast can refocus attention back to other opportunities in the country.

Settlement discussions have been underway for some time, Vast said in late January, adding that the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe gave a direction in 2010 that required legacy issues to be finalized in the High Court.

Vast Resources chief executive officer, Andrew Prelea told the media this that he was extremely impressed by the manner in which President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration expeditiously resolved the matter.

“Despite taking longer than anticipated, I am very pleased to announce that after many years of hard work and discussion with the Zimbabwean Government the matter regarding the release of the historic parcel has now been amicably settled in a manner supported by an Order of the High Court of Zimbabwe.

“This demonstrates the Zimbabwe Government’s and in particular His Excellency President Cmd. E D Mnangagwa’s commitment to resolving legacy issues related to investment in Zimbabwe in a transparent and legal manner for the mutual benefit of investors and the country,” he said.