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THE Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) has declared a US$1 million interim dividend to government for the first time in 10 years as controversy over the Chiadzwa diamond mining rages on.

Gloria Mawarire, ZMDC chairperson, yesterday presented the dividend to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the capital.
“During the year 2009, US$1,3 million was paid to government as royalties,” Mawarire said. “Notwithstanding the need to further invest, it has become necessary to balance investment with declaring dividends to the shareholder. We therefore have the pleasure to present an amount of US$1 million as interim dividend.”
ZMDC is a wholly-owned government mining investment vehicle taking charge of five mining ventures — Jena Mine, Sabi Gold Mine, Sandawana Mines, Elvington Gold Mine and investments in Marange diamond fields.
Accepting the dividend on behalf of government, Tsvangirai said the decision would restore people’s confidence in the mining sector.
“For a very long time, some of us were beginning to wonder why Zimbabwe is endowed with so many resources yet nothing is coming into the fiscus,” Tsvangirai said. “For the last 10 years, this is the first time you have declared a dividend. I am sure Zimbabwe should be self-sufficient…We are looking at the holistic deliverable. This demonstrates something can be achieved.”
During the past decade the ZMDC lost copper mine Mhangura due to viability problems.
Meanwhile, Mbada Investments, a diamond company formed by ZMDC and licensed to mine diamonds in Marange this week told the parliamentary portfolio committee on Mines and Energy that Zimbabwe could lose 2,5 million carats of diamonds to thieves due to regulations that stopped the mine from selling its stockpiles. Formal diamond trading is internationally regulated by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
“We are suffering (because we are mining but not selling). We are not in the business of stockpiling and the more we stockpile the more insecure that stock became because thieves can set in,” Mhlanga said.

 

Bernard Mpofu