The delight on the face of Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa was clear for all to see. Meanwhile, ALROSA CEO Sergey Ivanov had more of an expression of quiet satisfaction of a job well done as they posed for photos after announcing in Moscow this week that the Russian miner will be launching operations in Zimbabwe.<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
With Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin – who knows Ivanov well and was likely a major force in ensuring that he was picked for the top job at the mining firm despite Ivanov's lack of diamond industry experience – hosting Mnangagwa, it was fairly clear that a deal would be struck.
Ivanov made it sound like the mining giant was simply doing the African country a favor: "Today we see opportunities for a new stage of our partnership. We are ready to develop new joint projects for diamond exploration and extraction. We also seek to support Zimbabwe in the development of its diamond-mining industry in line with industry’s best practices. We are happy to share with our partners a wealth of experience in the field of mineral exploration and diamond mining, including the industry self-regulation and responsible business."
Ivanov said a local subsidiary, ALROSA (Zimbabwe) Limited, was established in December in Harare. It will implement projects for exploration and mining operations with a view to establishing joint diamond and other ore mining enterprises. The firm's geologists and mining engineers will arrive in Zimbabwe within the next month to start operations.
That ALROSA would be the first – and maybe the only – major diamond miner to step into Zimbabwe hardly comes as a surprise. Ivanov...