HomeBusiness DigestZim Loses Out As Chaos In Chiadzwa Rages On

Zim Loses Out As Chaos In Chiadzwa Rages On

INDUSTRY has blamed power struggles between mining authorities fighting for control over diamond deposits in Marange for the estimated US$1,2 billion lost through diamond smuggling, businessdigest has learnt.

According to presentations made by industrialists at the just ended Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries congress, the Reserve Bank, the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) are currently engaged in a war of attrition over the control and pricing of controversial precious stones in Chiadzwa, resulting in minimum proceeds gained from the gems.
Instead CZI recommended government to streamline the institutional framework of the mining sector, which accounts for about 40% of the export revenue.
“There is a dogfight between the country’s institutions over diamond pricing and the granting of mining concessions,” said a top business executive who spoke at the congress. “ The area is currently under the control of the President’s Office and the Reserve Bank which is granting licences for exporters. This setup could cause confusion when politically linked businessmen manipulate the system to acquire mining licences.
Lack of proper institutional, orderly and legal framework for diamond miners has also resulted in the country losing at least US$1,2 billion per month.”
ZMDC — which is the government’s investment arm, reportedly acquired 20 hectares of the estimated 70 hectares endowed with the diamonds although it is understood to be struggling to make viable explorations. Business also criticised the parastatal for failing to ringfence the mining area resulting in massive pillaging of diamonds by illegal small scale miners and suspected politically connected people.
MMCZ, which is legally mandated by the government to market minerals to the international market is reportedly blaming the central bank for undermining its authority in the pricing of diamonds.
“The Reserve Bank wants the  sector to be treated like the gold  sector,” he said. Government purchases gold deliveries from producers under a support price facility that has been criticised by the gold miners.
Efforts to get a comment from the ZMDC and MCCZ were in vain. However, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono last week blamed illegal miners for the diamond leakages.
The chaos has since turned bloody in Marange amid reports of fatal shooting incidents and alleged human rights abuses on illegal diamond miners by the police. The diamond fields in the Chiadzwa area have attracted thousands of people to the eastern border town of Mutare since their public discovery two years back. Last year the Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono estimated that at least US$400 million was lost to diamond smuggling.
A leading gold producer recently urged government to streamline bureaucratic challenges in the mining sector blaming them for promoting divestment in the capital-intensive sector. — Staff Writer.  

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