Source: Government targets Murowa Diamonds – The Standard April 24, 2016
The government will next month begin discussions with Murowa Diamonds as it moves to consolidate operations of all diamond producers in the country.
BY VICTORIA MTOMBA
Government has already ordered nine diamond producers to cease operations following the expiry of their Special Grant licences. The nine producers will be amalgamated into the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) — a new entity which will be in charge of all diamond mining in Zimbabwe.
Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidhakwa told Standardbusiness last week that he was seized with the issue of ensuring all diamond producers joined ZCDC.
“The [current] situation [consolidation] does not include Murowa Diamonds and we will open discussions [with Murowa)]on the way forward,” he said.
“My aim was to consolidate ZCDC in its format. Very soon we will start discussions; probably in the next fortnight.
We will talk to them to find a way to implement government policy.
“Their special grant has not yet expired, so we could not treat them as the other diamond companies.”
Murowa Diamonds has capacity of an annual output of 400 000 carats.
The nine companies that were ordered to cease operations are Anjin, DMC, Jinan, Mbada, DTZ Ozgeo, Rera, Gye Nyame, Kusena and Marange Resources.
Diamond revenues have been shrouded in controversy, with Treasury saying little was flowing into its coffers. The country has nothing to show for the quarter of the world’s alluvial diamonds that it boasted of barely seven years ago.
Government took a step this year to consolidate the sector and plug leakages. President Robert Mugabe disclosed that $15 billion from diamond proceeds was stolen in the seven years that diamond mining by private companies took place in the Marange diamond fields.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is currently running a tender auction for diamonds where 243 651 carats are expected to go under the hammer.
The auction is the last one that includes stocks from the different diamond companies that had their licences cancelled by government early this year.
Chidhakwa said a similar auction of 217 667 carats in March realised $10,6 million. The average price per carat during the March sale was $51,9.
Chidhakwa said of the carats auctioned, 155 840 belonged to ZCDC.
He said the contribution of ZCDC to the total diamond output had risen from 217 667 carats in March to 243 651 carats due to the increase in production from companies that were now part of ZCDC.
“We have written to all the companies to say tender auction 17 is the last one that will be held outside ZCDC and it will be illegal for anybody to be handling diamonds outside ZCDC after that, except for Mbada, whose case is still before the courts. The message has been communicated to them,” he said.