Home » Governance » Mphoko Meets Russian Envoy

Acting President Phelekezela Mphoko yesterday met Russian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Sergey Bakharev and held discussions on enhancing bilateral co-operation between the two countries.

Briefing journalists soon after meeting Acting President Mphoko at his Munhumutapa offices, Mr Bakharev said their discussions centred on business deals that Harare and Moscow signed last year.

He said they also discussed the business meetings President Mugabe held during his visit to Moscow last month.

Russian investors are financing a $4 billion platinum mine in the Great Dyke in a joint venture with Zimbabwe.

“We discussed at length bilateral relations. Specifically, we made emphasis on economic ties and development. You may well be aware that recently Russia became one of the biggest investors in this country,” said Mr Bakharev.

“Great importance was given to the recent visit of your President to Moscow in May. We consider Zimbabwe as one of our best all weather friends in Africa. We cherish this relationship. My Government is doing its best to enhance this relationship. Politically, relations are good. We are moving in the right direction, we are moving in the economic direction.”

Mr Bakharev said while political relations between the two countries were g as they dated back to the liberation struggle, it was high time that they were transformed into economic benefits.

He said Acting President Mphoko was conversant with the Russian economy since he was once Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Moscow.

“Politically, our relations are absolutely excellent,” said Mr Bakharev. “On the economic sphere, the Acting President knows my country quite well. He was once ambassador to my country. He is well aware of all the problems and the economic potential of my country.”

The Russian investors told President Mugabe in Moscow that they were on course to meet timelines set in a roadmap in September last year during a high profile visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Under the roadmap, the mine in Darwendale will be developed in three phases, with the first phase running from 2014 to 2017 entailing exploration, infrastructure development and commissioning of mining facilities.

The second phase from 2018 to 2021 will see the establishment of a new mine and expansion of concentration capacity to produce 530 000 ounces of platinum per year.

The third and full development phase will run from 2022 to 2024 and will see the expansion of platinum production to 800 000 ouncec per year.

The project will create 8 000 jobs on completion.

Source : The Herald