Diamond mining company Alrosa is forming a partnership in a Zimbabwe-Russia joint venture (JV) company that will prospect for diamonds in the southern African country, Russia’s trade and industry minister Denis Manturov said on Monday.

Russia’s major investment in Zimbabwe is a joint-venture diamond and gold mining company in eastern Zimbabwe – DTZ-OZGEO.

The eastern European nation is also planning a joint platinum mining operation outside Zimbabwe’s capital – Harare.

Joint venture

Denis Manturov said Alrosa, a leading diamond producer by volume and the DTZ-OZGEO JV would prospect for diamonds throughout Zimbabwe.

Diamonds are mined in the south of the country by private company River Ranch, in central Zimbabwe by Rio Tinto and in the eastern Marange area, which caused controversy when 20 000 illegal miners were evicted by soldiers and police in 2008, according to a Reuters report.

Value-added mining

The Russian firm also wants to help Zimbabwe with sorting and evaluating its diamonds.

“I would like to point out that Alrosa has come up with a proposal to the Zimbabwean side to extend expert assistance to Zimbabwe in the field of organising the system of sorting, valuation and marketing of its diamonds,” Manturov said.

Geopolitical trouble

Shunned by western countries over charges of vote fraud and human rights, President Robert Mugabe has reached out to Beijing and now to Moscow for badly needed investment in a country where only two in 10 employable people hold formal jobs.

Russia is now the target of sanctions by the United States and European Union, reports Reuters.

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