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ZMDC seeks River Ranch takeover


The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) has set its eyes on acquiring diamond mining firm Limpopo Mineral Resources, which recently applied for a provisional liquidation order at the High Court.

Limpopo Resources, formerly River Ranch and linked to the late Retired Army General Solomon Mujuru, filed for an order to wind up operations citing high operational costs.

The company owns 80% of the Beitbridge mine in which Mujuru’s family holds a 20% stake through Khupukile Resources, whose directors are former Zanu PF legislator Tirivanhu Mudariki and Mujuru’s daughter, Nyasha Mujuru del Campo.

Sources this week told NewsDay that under the proposed deal, ZMDC would acquire 51% of the mine, while Khupukile Resources would retain some shareholding.

The State-owned company will at the same time seek partnerships with foreign investors, widely expected to be either Chinese or

“ZMDC is still very much interested in taking over the mine. For its shareholding, Khupukile is likely to go into a joint venture with foreign partners,” sources said.

Indications were that Limpopo decided to opt out of the operation as a result of the ballooning operational costs estimated at $500 000 monthly.

According to sources, the asset was valued at $20 million. ZMDC chairman Goodwills Masimirembwa yesterday confirmed they were interested in the mine.

“Negotiations are ongoing. We are carrying out due diligence which will enable us to make an offer,” he said.

“We have put in place a technical team to establish the extent of the resource.”

Efforts to get a comment from the Mujuru family lawyer Thakor Kewada were unsuccessful at the time of going to print.

Last week, Rani Investments chief executive officer Salim Bitar said the majority shareholder had been subsidising the running of the mine, while negotiating its sale with junior partner Khupukile Resources and ZMDC.

“Negotiations with the ZMDC had not yet been concluded, but with no offer having yet been made, the shareholders had decided it best to apply for liquidation,” he said.

“If ZMDC wished to acquire the mine, it could continue negotiations with the court appointed liquidator.”

Bitar said Rani wanted to realign its financial and management resources to focus on its core business of hospitality and tourism in Zimbabwe and the region.

Rani Investment is a Dubai-based Investment Holding firm for the Aujan Group with more than $300 million of committed investments in the Middle East and Africa.

It is owned by Adele Aujun, a Saudi billionaire.

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