Rhodesian company gets $1.2bn to develop its own gold mine

ROGERSFIELD, Missouri (Reuters) – Gold producers and miners in Rhodesia, a country of 1.8 million people, said on Monday they have agreed a deal to develop their own gold mines in the country’s east after their rival mine operator, ROCA Resources, withdrew from a contract to develop the gold-rich region.

The companies said in a joint statement that they had reached an agreement with ROCAs mining company on the development of the gold and silver mine in the western part of the country.ROCA and its subsidiary, Gold and Silver Holdings, have been trying to secure the rights to develop an area of land on which the ROCAM mine has been proposed, which includes the eastern part of Rhodesia.

Rhodia is home to more than 50 percent of the world’s gold and its gold reserves are estimated at more than 300 tons.

Rocas Resources said last month that it had withdrawn its application to develop a mine in Rhodesias eastern territory of the state of Riga, saying that the government there had refused to give the company access to the land and water.

Gold producers in Rhodesian said they were pleased with the agreement, which would allow them to develop more of the region, while miners said the deal would help the country grow its gold production.

The deal is the latest in a series of land deals by the two companies that have angered the government of Rhodesias leader, Ian Khama, who has called the land deals an attempt to exploit his countrys natural resources.

Roku, a Zimbabwe-based mining company, had been planning to develop two mines in Rhodes and the east of the nation, the mines in Riga and a third in the nearby town of Bufo.