Zimbabwe-based mining company RioZim has acquired Sperrgebiet Diamond Mine in Namibia as part of its plan to expand its operations in Africa.

Sources have said that the transaction is valued at $58m.

In a written response to questions from Bloomberg News, RioZim group company secretary Tawanda Andrew Chiurayi said: “The group has been trying to broaden its footprint in the mining industry in Africa and this acquisition was part of the strategy.

“We also want to diversify our assets and geographies.”

Sperrgebiet has four diamond mining licences, two of which are onshore and two offshore.

These licences are located within Lüderitz’s protected diamond zones.

Chiurayi said RioZim plans to make further investments in base and precious metals in Zimbabwe, in addition to the more than $150m it has allocated for its gold mine and a new plant at the Murowa diamond mine.

The company currently operates the Renco Gold mine in the south-east of Zimbabwe and the Cam & Motor gold mine in Kadoma, as well as the Dalny Mine in Chakari and the Empress Nickel Refinery near the city of Kadoma in Central Zimbabwe.

It also has a 50% stake in Sengwa Colliery in Gokwe North and a 22% holding in Murowa Diamonds.

The Sunday Mail recently reported that Zimbabwe is requiring global miners operating in the country to pay some of their royalties in refined metal instead of cash.

Despite holding ‘abundant’ reserves of minerals such as gold and platinum group metals, Zimbabwe is facing difficulty in capitalising on a resource boom due to problems with its power supply, as well as a deficiency of ancillary industries to support mining.

Speaking to Bloomberg , RioZim said that its operations were being hindered by rules requiring miners in the country to switch 40% of their income into local currency.