“Rio Tinto believes that the future of these assets can be best managed by entities with existing interests in Zimbabwe,” Rio Tinto said in a statement regarding the sale to RioZim.
The exit seems likely to be due to the controversial announcement that the Zimbabwean government plans to merge all diamond companies into one state-owned entity in which the government will have a whilst other operating companies will share the other half.
Zimbabwe’s Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa is quotes by as reasoning that “we need to create a dominant player in the diamond sector and, more importantly, the value chain. You can never go onto the international market without a big player on your side. There are five in the world currently; we need to create our own.”