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Tanzania stops Petra’s plans to sell Williamson Diamond Mine – report

13 july 2020
A pink diamond weighing 23.16 ct recovered at Williamson                                      Image credit: Petra Diamonds

The Tanzanian government has stopped Petra Diamonds’ plans to sell its 75% stake in the Williamson Diamond Mine (WDM) in Mwadui, according to local media.
“The government has 25 shares in this mine. If you want to sell, it is a must for you to consult the government and get that approval,” Tanzania’s minerals minister Doto Biteko was quoted as saying by The Citizen.
The minister reportedly issued a five-day ultimatum last week to Petra to explain why they reached such a decision without consulting the government.  
Tanzania is also said to have cancelled the decision to send home employees due to poor operations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Petra, which also has operations in South Africa, recently put itself up for sale or parts of the business and assets of the group.
This follows a strategic review, which seeks to find ways to repay the group’s $650 million debt.
The company said that a formal sale process will require interested parties to enter into a confidentiality agreement with the company on terms satisfactory to the board of Petra and on the same terms, in all material respects, as other interested parties.
“The board of Petra reserves the right to alter or terminate this process at any time and in such an event, the company will make an announcement as appropriate,” it said last week.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished