HARARE – Zimbabwe has produced about 2,2 million carats of diamonds in the third quarter of the year, Mines minister Walter Chidakwa has said.
“Most of the diamond miners opted for alluvial mining and in the current situation the resource is depleting so at the end of the day the production levels are bound to decrease,” said Chidakwa.
According to official statistics, 3,36 million carats are expected to be produced by the end of the year compared to 4 773 million carats of diamonds produced in Zimbabwe last year.
Chidakwa noted that it was on the back of the declining diamond production that his ministry had embarked on the consolidation of all the local diamond mining companies.
“We have discovered that the licences of all the mines in Marange today expired and they were not renewed and they did not pay their amounts over the years and so if somebody does not pay their fees and renew their licence, I do not believe that they should continue mining,” he said.
The consolidation will see government –which currently has 50 percent shareholding in diamond companies operating in Marange through the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC)–merge all diamond companies into one entity called the Zimbabwe Consolidation Diamond Corporation (ZCDC).
Chidakwa said the move will plug leakages in the sector, boost efficiency and improve transparency.
The Mines minister also said government was “going to make sure” companies abided, adding that the sector needed strict regulation as the current firms have had “disclosure issues”
He added that the diamond companies had “failed on their own” so they needed government intervention. The main issue of contention over the proposed merger is that a formula stipulating how shareholding in the new company will be derived has raised eyebrows among players in the sector.
Diamond sector players say the hesitance shown by most firms is emanating from the lack of independence implied by merger and the various liability situations of their prospective partners.
However, one of the wholly government-owned diamond mining companies operating in the Marange area, Marange Resources, approved consolidation.
Mining companies currently operating in Marange include, Anjin, Diamond Mining Corporation, Jinan Mining Private Ltd, Marange Resources and Mbada Diamonds while Gye Nyame and Kusena went under.
Other diamond producers outside Marange include DTZ OZ GEO and Murowa diamonds.