Botswana Diamonds (BOD) has entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with mining and resource development company Vast Resources to form an alliance for the joint exploration of diamonds in Zimbabwe.

In addition to the collaborative exploration initiative, the MoU will also see the parties exchange information obtained from past exploration on prospective areas in Zimbabwe.

The collaboration is expected to leverage BOD’s expertise relating to diamond exploration, development and mining in the country.

"We believe the time has now come for us to make use of our historic diamond knowledge with a view to bringing value for all stakeholders."

Vast previously acquired a database relating to diamonds in Zimbabwe in 2008, which the company used to conduct exploration works until 2010.

BOD has also independently acquired a Zimbabwe diamonds database.

Botswana Diamonds chairman John Teeling said:  “Both Botswana Diamonds and Vast Resources have extensive experience in, and knowledge of, the country.

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“It is opening for business and both BOD and Vast are keen to make the most of this opportunity.”

BOD and Vast are expected to form a special-purpose, jointly owned company in order to carry out the planned exploitation programme.

Vast Resources chief executive Andrew Prelea said: “As a result of the new government’s desire to open up business in Zimbabwe, we believe the time has now come for us to make use of our historic diamond knowledge with a view to bringing value for all stakeholders in developing Zimbabwe’s diamond resources.”

Vast is the owner of the Manaila polymetallic mine in Romania, which is currently preparing for expansion via the development of an additional open-pit operation and new metallurgical complex at the Carlibaba Extension Area.

The company also holds an 80% interest in the Baita Plai polymetallic mine in Romania, as well as a 25% interest in the Pickstone-Peerless gold mine in Zimbabwe.