Mining in Marange has been hampered by a court challenge involving three producers disputing government’s refusal to renew their licences, Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa has said.
Source: Dispute scuppers diamond output – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 28, 2016
BY VICTORIA MTOMBA
In February, government ordered nine mining firms — the bulk of them in Marange — to stop operating as their licences had expired.
The decree came on the back of the formation of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) to run all diamond operations in the country.
Chidakwa told guests at the launch of the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper on Monday that government changed the structure in the diamond sector as it was not benefiting the communities and the country.
“They went to the Constitutional Court and we know that they will not win. This has taken us off the wheels. What this has done is we are not able to produce in those areas where there is contest. We are not able to produce at Anjin, Gye Nyame and Mbada. We hope the matter will be resolved soon,” he said.
The three companies had initially lost at the High Court.
Chidakwa said changing of the structure of the sector was not nationalisation, but government did not renew licences of companies.
Chidakwa said government bought equipment for Diamond Mining Corporation (DMC) and output has doubled in the past four months.
DMC was a joint venture between Dubai’s Pure Diamond and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.
“At Marange, they were producing 10 000 carats and now we are producing 50 000 carats. It’s not good enough and it’s not meeting the 300 000 carats, which was produced when all the mines were operational,” he said.
Chidakwa said the diamond companies that have been operating in the country were not declaring dividends at all, in violation of the agreement.
The companies, he said, were not doing exploration work and did not establish any resource in the area.
Chidakwa said in Marange, the government has seen new gravels which indicate good grades.
He said the government was monitoring the production on a daily basis.
ZCDC is mandated to be in charge of all diamond operations in the country.
All diamond producers, including Murowa, are supposed to be amalgamated into ZCDC.
The country has not received much from the diamond sector amid claims that at least $15 billion could have been spirited away in Marange in seven years.