HomeNewsRio Tinto to let Murowa go?

Rio Tinto to let Murowa go?

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Global mining giant, Rio Tinto has announced plans to divest from its diamond interests, which include operations in Zimbabwe, Canada and Australia.

Locally, Rio Tinto is the majority shareholder in Murowa Diamonds with a 78% stake.

It also wholly owns Argyle in Australia and has a 60% interest in Diavik of Canada.

Last year the company agreed to let go of a 51% stake in line with the country’s indigenisation and empowerment regulations that seek to transfer majority ownership of foreign entities to locals.

Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere in October last year told the Press Murowa Diamonds had complied with the empowerment regulations.

Yesterday, Rio Tinto, one of the world’s leading diamond producers, said it had begun a strategic review of its diamond business that will include exploring a range of options for potential divestment of its interests.

“We regularly review our businesses to ensure they remain aligned with Rio Tinto’s strategy of operating large, long-life, expandable assets,” said Harry Kenyon-Slaney, chief executive Diamonds & Minerals.

“The diamonds market outlook is very positive, with demand growing strongly and lack of new discoveries limiting supply.

“We have a valuable, high-quality diamonds business, but given its scale we are reviewing whether we can create more value through a different ownership structure.

“This process may take some time. We’re committed to keeping stakeholders informed about any key developments and in the meantime are reassuring employees and the governments in the states and countries where we operate that it is very much business as usual.”

Rio Tinto said through the three mines it was able to produce the full range of diamonds for all market segments.

According to information on its website, Murowa Diamonds employs around 180 people directly and a further 150 full-time contractors provide mining and village services.

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