One of the biggest diamond miners in the world, Russia’s Alrosa and China’s Anjin Investments, have been selected by Zimbabwe’s government to partner with the state diamond company, a state-run newspaper reported on Thursday, according to Mining.com.
Zimbabwe announced in December that it would allow two private companies to explore and mine gems and Alrosa said last week it had set up a local subsidiary to start operations.
Anjin is one of several companies that was evicted from the Marange diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe in early 2016 during Robert Mugabe’s rule after the government said their licenses had expired.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa had put “Zimbabwean interest at the heart of exploitation of those diamonds only accepting foreign participation by way of selecting companies from Russia and China,” presidential spokesman George Charamba told the Herald newspaper.
The two countries have political allies of Zimbabwe since the days of its independence war against British rule.
Most of the diamond fields are in Marange in eastern Zimbabwe, where production is dominated by state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC).
In 2008, hundreds were killed and thousands had to leave their homes as the military forced artisan miners to leave Marange after the early stages of the diamond rush.
In early 2016, former long-time leader Robert Mugabe went further, evicting all diamond mining firms from Marange, including Anjin. His government said at the time their licenses had expired after they declined to merge with ZCDC.