Vast Resources boss jets in to recover seized diamonds

VAST Resources chief executive officer Andrew Prelea

VAST Resources chief executive officer Andrew Prelea is in the country as the London-based firm finalises the recovery of its historic parcel of 129 400 rough diamonds held in safe custody at the central bank.

Vast, a multi-resource operation, surrendered the gems as evidence that it had exploited diamonds on claims previously owned by DeBeers. The diamond outfit left Chiadzwa diamond fields in 2006, claiming it had failed to find viable reserves, following a decade of exploration.

A legal battle then exploded between Vast and Zimbabwean authorities who had held onto the gems when Vast wanted them back. The company then sued the Mines and Mining Development ministry and eventually won the case early this year.

“The company can confirm that Andrew Prelea, the company’s chief executive officer, is currently in Zimbabwe as the company finalises the recovery of the historic parcel of 129 400 rough diamonds held in safe custody at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe pursuant to the High Court order in the company’s favour,” the London Stock Exchange-listed outfit said in a market update.

The company said it was preparing to market the diamonds, adding that upon the finalisation of the process, it would focus on the finalisation of the mining agreement on the community diamond concession in the Marange diamond fields.

“The company is currently concluding documentation regarding an extension to 30 June 2023 that will allow the necessary time to finalise the settlement of the historic claims in Zimbabwe,” it said.

Vast has mines and projects in Romania, Tajikistan and Zimbabwe.

It has an interest in the Eureka Gold Mine in Mashonaland Central province.

In 2018, Vast announced that it was exploring new mining opportunities and intended to revitalise its historic claims as the firm sought to increase its footprint in the country, leveraging on an improved investment climate.

In Romania, the company is focused on the rapid advancement of high-quality projects by recommencing production at previously producing mines.

The Romanian portfolio includes 100% interest in Vast Baita Plai SA which owns 100% of the producing Baita Plai Polymetallic Mine, located in the Apuseni Mountains, Transylvania, an area which hosts Romania's largest polymetallic mines.

It also owns the Manaila Polymetallic Mine in Romania, which the company is looking to bring back into production following a period of care and maintenance. The company has also been granted the Manaila Carlibaba extended exploitation licence that will allow it to re-examine the exploitation of the mineral resources within the area.

Vast has an interest in a joint venture company which provides a share of revenue generated from the Takob Mine processing facility in Tajikistan.

The Takob Mine opportunity, which is 100% financed, will provide Vast with a 12,25% royalty equivalent to overall sales of non-ferrous concentrate and any other metals produced.

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