Russia investment deals gather pace

Source: Russia investment deals gather pace | The Herald April 29, 2016

Felex Share Senior Reporter—
trade and investment deals signed between Zimbabwe and Russia are gathering pace, with Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov expected in the country today to work on strategies that will quicken full implementation of the projects. The key economic agreements were sealed in September 2014 during the First Session of the Zimbabwe-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Economic, Trade, Scientific and Technical Co-operation.

It is the same period that saw the two countries signing an agreement for the setting up of a $1 billion platinum project in Darwendale. The project is expected to create thousands of jobs in the next few years.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday announced that Minister Manturov would arrive today to review the projects during the Second Session of the Intergovernmental Commission to be held in Harare tomorrow.

Senior officials from the two countries began their preparatory meetings yesterday and will finish meetings today. “Honourable Manturov is expected to arrive in the country on April 29 in Bulawayo in the morning,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

 “He will attend the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair where the Russian Federation is exhibiting. “He will arrive in Harare in the evening on the same day. “Senior officials are preparing for the Intergovernmental Commission meeting by reviewing the status of implementation of the agreements the two countries signed in September 2014.

“They would also propose measures to increase momentum in the implementation of projects that may be lagging behind and identify possible new areas of cooperation.” Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi will co-chair the Joint Commission with Minister Manturov.

“Intergovernmental Commission hopes to build on the excellent bilateral political relations between the two countries and co-operation in a number of areas, including trade and investment, mining, energy, home affairs, tourism and higher education among other sectors,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

The previous Joint Commission was attended by several Cabinet ministers and Russian businesspersons with interests in mining, energy, agriculture, education and infrastructure development. It is then that key economic agreements were sealed.

On the other hand the $1 billion Darwendale project is expected to see the setting up of concentrators and a smelter in line with the beneficiation and value addition concept espoused in the Government economic blueprint, Zim-Asset.

Great Dyke Investments, a joint venture between Zimbabwe and a consortium of Russian corporations, has already embarked on large-scale exploration of platinum deposits in Darwendale where the integrated platinum facility will be set up.

More than 40 000 metres of exploratory drilling has been done. The development strategy of the project involves the phased creation of mining and processing production facilities with mining and processing up to 10 million tonnes of ore per year, and smelting facilities that will provide the annual production up to 25 tonnes of platinum group metals.

The project will be implemented in three phases with the first stage running between 2015 and 2017, mainly involving exploration and establishment in infrastructure such as roads. The second phase will begin and involve the opening of two underground mines and a smelter and this is expected to take about five years.

Between 2022 and 2024, the company will set up a refinery.