RioZim buys Namibian diamond mine to expand in Africa

Credit: Sperrgebiet Diamond Mining

RioZim Ltd. has bought Sperrgebiet Diamond Mine in Namibia as the Zimbabwean group seeks to expand in Africa.

“The group has been trying to broaden its footprint in the mining industry in Africa and this acquisition was part of the strategy,” Tawanda Andrew Chiurayi, RioZim’s group company secretary, said in a written response to questions from Bloomberg News. “We also want to diversify our assets and geographies.”

Chiurayi declined to disclose the amount RioZim paid for the mine. The acquisition cost $58 million, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be named as the price hasn’t been disclosed.

Sperrgebiet holds two onshore and two offshore mining licenses, within Luderitz’s protected diamond zones, according to the company’s website.

RioZim is also planning further investments in base and precious metals in Zimbabwe, after spending more than $150 million at its gold mine and a new plant at the Murowa diamond mine, Chiurayi said. Output at Murowa tripled in September following the investment, he said.

RioZim, which also has interests in coal and a nickel refinery, said rules that oblige miners in Zimbabwe to switch 40% of their income into local currency are proving a drag on its operations.

“Forex shortages and power shortages are seriously hampering progress, but our belief in the long term is undeterred,” Chiurayi said.

(By Godfrey Marawanyika and Kaula Nhongo)

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