MINES and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa says the Government will soon respond to a request by Mbada Diamonds to have its special grant regularised. The diamond mining company is one of the seven companies that the Government in February ordered off Chiadzwa fields after they defied a policy directive for all to merge into a single firm called the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC).
Following the mining dispute, Mbada Diamonds and Jinan took the Government to court.
“Mbada went to court and the judgment came out stating that the special grant for Mbada had expired until the regularisation of its special grant has been done. The regularisation of the special grant has to be done in terms of the Mines and Minerals Act. We’ll soon be responding to their request. Right now I can’t tell you the decision before we inform them,” he said.
He said Jinan had also lost the case adding that the Government would facilitate the firms to take their equipment out of Chiadzwa fields.
Other companies the Government issued with special grants in Chiadzwa included Marange Resources, Anjin Investments, Diamond Mining Corporation, Kusena, and Gye Nyame.
Last year, the Government announced the consolidation of all diamond mining entities into a single entity to promote transparency and accountability in the sector.
It was hoped that the merging of diamond companies in Manicaland was supposed to be valued on net asset value and this was going to determine the shareholding structure in ZCDC.
Of late, the Government and other stakeholders noted that due to lack of transparency and accountability in the diamond sector, the country had been prejudiced of an estimated $15 billion. Since the beginning of diamond mining operations in Manicaland a few years ago, Zimbabwe earned about $2 billion from the gemstones.
A fortnight ago, Minister Chidhakwa told Parliament that an audit was underway to ascertain the value of diamonds the country had lost due to lack of transparency and accountability issues by some mining companies.
The setting up of the ZCDC would see diamond concessions and claims coming under this company. At the moment, the Government is in the process of listing down the ZCDC board membership and it is hoped that within the next three months, the firm would be operational.
“ZCDC will be operational in the next three months,” said Minister Chidhakwa.