Govt intensifies diamond consolidation plan despite resistance

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Murowa

GOVERNMENT has begun seeking the services of senior personnel to run a new state-owned merged diamond mining operation following the depletion of alluvial gems in Marange, effectively signaling its drive to consolidate the sector despite resistance from existing firms.

This comes after Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa in October announced that Marange diamond miners’ operating licences had expired giving government an advantage to arm-twist mining firms to agree to plans for consolidation of the sector.

Since a bloody security sector intervention to end chaotic and illegal extraction of alluvial diamonds by individuals and organised syndicates, that saw the formalisation of mining activities in Marange in 2009, civic society and opposition political groups have been calling for transparency and accountability in the mining operations.

“The promulgation of the diamond mines policy by the government of Zimbabwe has resulted in the incorporation of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (Pvt) Ltd, which is solely to explore, mine, recover and sell diamonds on its behalf. As a result of this new development, the following exciting but challenging career opportunities have arisen with this new player,” reads a newspaper advert published on Sunday.

According to newspaper advert carried in weekly newspaper, the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company wants to recruit the services of a chief executive, chief operating officer, company secretary, chief security officer, mine managers and other senior technical positions to steer the company to profitability.

Between 2009 and 2013, the Mines ministry which was then led by Obert Mpofu ignored calls for transparency and accountability on the grounds full disclosure would make the country’s diamond trade more vulnerable to sanctions and seizures by Western countries and institutions opposed to the free sale of Marange diamonds, such as the United States’ Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The tone however drastically changed under current minister Walter Chidhakwa, who by early 2015 vowed to have consolidated all the diamond mining companies operating in Marange for, among other reasons, the need to facilitate a combined investment effort for kimberlitic mining at a time the country’s production has plunged as alluvial deposits run out.

Gye Nyame Resources, a joint venture between the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and Bill Minerals, represented by Ghanaian businessman William Ato Essien, had its licence revoked last year due to insolvency and failure to adhere to environmental requirements.

The company, which was granted mining concessions in Marange in 2011, was placed under final judicial management last June.
Other miners in the Chiadzwa area include Marange Resources, Diamond Mining Company (DMC), Anjin, Jinan and Mbada Diamonds.-Staff Writer

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