The helicopters are said to be similar to the ones Moscow has reportedly supplied the Syrian government to crack down of armed militants trying to topple the Damascus regime.
The newspaper, quoting an unnamed source in the presidential administration in Moscow, reported on Wednesday that the Russian State Corporation, Russian Technologies, would supply Zimbabwe with state-of the art helicopters in exchange to an interest in a platinum mining project in Darwendale, just outside Harare.
“Russian Technologies has already secured preliminary support from Zimbabwe’s official representatives during its visit to the country in April,” another source told the paper, adding the local authorities were interested in the supply of Russian arms, in particular military helicopters.
“The issue being discussed is the transfer to Russian Technologies of the rights to develop the deposit in exchange for the supply of helicopters,” the source said.
A source close to Russian Technologies confirmed the state corporation’s interest in the Darwendale project.
Darwendale has proven platinum reserves of 19 tons and total resources of 755 tons taking into account other metals, such as palladium, gold, nickel, copper and others.
Total capital investment in the deposit development from 2011-2055 is estimated at $2.8 billion.
Should the deal go through it is likely to raise the ire of human rights watchers and Western Powers who accuse the Zimbabwe military of dabbling in partisan politics and of involvement in politically-motivated violence during the last election.
Top army officers have vowed MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai will not rule Zimbabwe during their life time.
Zimbabwe has the second biggest platinum deposits in the world.