Landela Mining Venture is in discussions with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) to buy Sandawana Emerald Mines in the southern parts of Zimbabwe, it’s chief executive David Brown has said.
“We are assessing the potential of the gemstones and we are hoping to reach an agreement in the next few weeks,” Mr Brown, the former chief executive of Impala Platinum Holdings revealed to The Herald Finance & Business in an interview on Tuesday.
The history of Sandawana dates back to 1955 when emeralds were first discovered in the country.
The mine changed hands over the years and currently ZMDC has a majority shareholding at Sandawana Mines.
The mine consists of a number of emerald deposits including Ceres, Athene, Eros, Marmaid, Junc, Zeus, Atom, Plato, Vulcan among others. .
Sandawana has been an important producer of emeralds for 40 years before production was suspended in 2011 due to loss of some traditional markets.
Since then, ZMDC has been looking for investors.
Sandawana is located approximately 100 kilometres south of Zvishavane town in the Mberengwa district in the southern part of Zimbabwe.
Landela has been on a buying spree of Zimbabwe’s mining assets and recently concluded the takeover of gold mines owned by the Government through ZMDC.
The company also took over Shamva Gold Mine previously owned by Mzi Khumalo’s Metallon Corporation.
Shamva mine has since reopened and the company is now focusing on ramping up production.
Metallon suspended operations at three of its mines including Shamva and Mazowe last year due to mounting debts estimated at US$200 million. Negotiations for other Metallon’s mines are underway.
Landela is also a major shareholder in a multi-billion-dollar platinum project, Great Dyke Investments and Bindura Nickel Corporation, a listed entity on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
“The acquisitions are part of our broader vision to make Zimbabwe a mining giant and create sustainable livelihoods and employment. So, in addition to our portfolio which include gold, nickel and platinum, we would also like to add the gemstones,” Mr Brown said.
Last year, Zimbabwe unveiled a strategic roadmap to propel the country’s mining sector to US$12 billion industry by 2023.
Already, the mining sector is the largest foreign currency earner, accounting for nearly 70 percent of export receipts.
The sector also remains one of the key industries expected to anchor the revival of an economy suffering from depressed productivity and foreign currency shortages among others.
Under the US$12 billion mining roadmap, gold is expected to contribute US$4 billion, platinum US$3 billion while chrome, iron, steel, diamonds and coal will contribute US$1 billion.
Lithium is expected to contribute US$500 million, while other minerals will contribute US$1,5 billion.–herald.coz.w