Another UK firm scouts for diamonds

HARARE Botswana Stock Exchange-listed African Diamonds (AFD) is scouting for diamonds in Zimbabwe in a joint venture with an unnamed Zimbabwean company, according to sources.

AFD managing director, James Campbell, said this week that the United Kingdom-registered miner was the main partner in a joint venture sampling 28 claims in Zimbabwes Murowa area. Mining giant Rio Tinto already owns a diamond mine in the Murowa area near Zvishavane in southern Zimbabwe. Feasibility studies carried by Rio Tinto have already confirmed the existence of large reserves of diamonds in the area.

AFD holds 80 per cent of a joint venture sampling 28 claims in the Murowa area of Zimbabwe and has joint venture applications for ground in the Chimanimani and Marange areas, Campbell said. Its current portfolio includes development of the AK6 hard rock diamond mine in Botswanas Orapa area, a partnership with Lucara Diamond Corporation. Production at the Botswana mine is expected to commence in 2011.

AFD also holds licences to extract diamonds in Guinea and Sierra Leone. But it is the UK-incorporated companys wish to try its luck in Zimbabwes controversial Marange area that makes for interesting reading. Campbell did not disclose who AFDs joint venture partner for Marange was. Marange has courted negative international media since the Zimbabwean government controversially kicked out another UK-registered miner from the area soon after the discovery of diamonds in 2006.

African Consolidated Resources (ACR) is locked in a long-running legal battle to regain control of the Marange fields also known as Chiadzwa from the government-run Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation which has already parcelled out ACR claims to two South African-linked companies.

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