Global mining giant Rio Tinto has exited Zimbabwe after a 60-year presence, following the disposal of its shareholding in Murowa Diamonds and Sengwa Coal.
Rio Tinto owned 78 percent of Murowa Diamond Mine which is located in Zvishavane in the Midlands province while RioZim, a listed local independent mining company, controlled the remainder.
Rio Tinto also owned the Sengwa coal fields with RioZim on a 50-50 partnership, whose resource base is estimated at over one billion tonnes.
The coal fields are the site for a planned 1 400-megawatt thermal power station.
In a statement on Friday, Rio Tinto, the world’s second largest mining company, said RioZim would assume the overall management of both entities.
“Rio Tinto has completed the sale of its 78 percent interest in Murowa Diamonds and 50 percent interest in Sengwa Colliery Ltd (Sengwa) to RZ Murowa Holdings Limited,” Rio Tinto said.
“Rio Tinto believes that the future of these assets can be best managed by entities with existing interests in Zimbabwe.”
However, the statement did not shed light on RZ Murowa, the company to which Rio Tinto sold its shareholding.
Rio Tinto Diamonds and Minerals chief executive Alan Davies said the company was focusing on developing other projects.
“Rio Tinto remains committed to the diamond industry and is focused on operating its two world-class underground mines while obtaining the approvals for its advanced diamond project in India,” he said.
Rio Tinto announced its plans to divest out of Murowa Mine in 2012 with RioZim saying it would exercise its pre-emptive rights to acquire the shares.