HARARE – Israeli mining investor Yaron Yamin – in conjunction with his local partners – is on the verge of tying a deal with the Zimbabwean government to mine diamonds at Chiadzwa, businessdaily can reveal.
The Goldstone founder, who has invested between $5 and $10 million in gold operations countrywide, said he has lined up two of Jerusalem’s largest gem miners to invest in the venture.
“We have proposed a joint venture for mining diamonds in Marange and upon finalisation of our paperwork, we expect to start exploration in the next two weeks,” Yamin said this week, adding there were at least two other investors from China and Israel who were willing to back up his consortium.
The group, which also included ex-Zimbabwe Football Association chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya, was ready to put in $20 million worth of equipment to support the gem mining company.
If given the green-light to operate in the controversial diamond fields, Yamin’s group will be the seventh licenced venture to operate in the area after Anjin Investments, Diamond Mining Corporation, Gye Nyame Resources, Marange, Mbada Diamonds and Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE)-listed Meikles Limited, which is hoping to enter the zone.
The young businessman also said they were targeting other minerals outside diamonds and had already ordered additional equipment – worth $10 million – to ramp up bullion production, and exploration activities in the country next year.
With a $240 million-plus yearly turnover across six centres, including his native Israel, Belgium, Dubai, Liberia and South Africa, Yamin said they were also hoping to establish about 10 to 15 gold and multi-commodity processing sites in Zimbabwe.
Apart from listing his local assets on the ZSE, the diamond trader was also aiming to open a cutting and polishing school – just as he had put down or bedded similar agreements in Liberia. In addition to this, the Israeli tycoon believes in using “local skills in building local businesses here”.
Yamin, who has been in the country for 10 years and says he is undeterred by Zimbabwe’s empowerment laws, says with the economy levelling in past five years the country was “one of the best to invest in”.
Under Harare’s indigenisation laws, foreign-owned firms are expected to cede at least 51 percent of their share to black locals.
With Zimbabwe expected to supply about 25 percent of global rough diamonds, Yamin said the successes of his venture could also prove to be a tonic for other investors to return to the country.