GOVERNMENT will consider allowing foreigners to control diamond mining operations as part of the new policy shift designed to increase investment in the sector, acting Information minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said yesterday.
BY EVERSON MUSHAVA
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government changed the empowerment law to limit majority ownership by locals and State-owned companies to only diamond and platinum mines, and not the entire mining sector as in previous legislation.
Under the Zimbabwe National Diamond Policy announced yesterday after the Cabinet meeting, only government, through the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) together with Murowa Diamonds and two other players, will be approved to undertake diamond exploration and mining in the country.
“Any other entity or person with diamond mining title shall approach any one of the four approved companies for joint venture agreements,” Ndlovu told journalists after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.
“Government, through ZCDC, shall control 46% and the Local Company Trust – the 5% indigenous partners of any foreign investor who intends to undertake diamond mining activities in Zimbabwe.”
He added: “Government may waiver that local ownership threshold subject to submission of satisfactory submissions and due diligence, that all rough diamonds produced from all diamond mining operations shall be submitted to the Diamond Value Management Centre, to be established by the ZCDC for cleaning, sorting and valuation, save for Murowa Diamonds.”
According to the policy which Ndlovu said was approved yesterday, private players shall participate in value-addition after cleaning and sorting of diamonds upon obtaining the necessary approvals and that 10% of diamonds shall be reserved for local value addition.
The policy covers all stages of the diamond value chain, such as exploration, mining, processing, valuation, marketing, beneficiation, value addition, as well as the issues of capacity building, security and law enforcement.
Mines minister Winston Chitando said government settled for only four players for easy monitoring of the mining and selling of diamonds.
Ndlovu said Cabinet also received new designs for the new city in Mt Hampden from Local Government minister July Moyo as well as the regeneration projects of the country’s oldest suburbs, Mbare in Harare, Sakubva in Mutare and Makokoba in Bulawayo. The plans were designed by government in partnership with private players.
Government also expressed concern over the increase in the number of traffic accidents and promised to introduce a cocktail of measures to save life during the festive season.
“This will include law enforcement and other measures such as introduction of speed governors, avoid public transport from driving at night, among other measures,” Moyo said.
Government also said it will announce its position on fuel in the next two days and also assured that the country has wheat supplies to last four months and that all milling companies were buying the grain from the Grain Marketing Board using real time gross settlement (RTGS).