The Zimbabwe government cabinet has approved the takeover of the Chiadzwa diamond fields to be run 100% by the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) after mining companies failed to renew their licences. Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said their was no going back on the shutting down the operations of the mining companies, and said that they would not be welcome even if they made a U-turn and decided to join the consolidated company after all. Responding to reports that at least one of the mining companies was planning to sue the government, Chidhakwas dismissed them, saying that the gov't did not expropriate anyone's property, but simply declined to renew their expired licences.
"Now the language is that ZCDC is 100 percent owned on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe by the Government of Zimbabwe." It seems clear, however, that the government will still need foreign investment and expertise to mine and market Zimbabwe's precious stones, but it is currently unclear as to who will step in to fill the void. On another note, the government stated at a press conference that the situation in the fields was not as dire as had been reported in the media - reports such as this one from yesterday that claims, "Panners are paying police officers just $10 to be allowed to sneak into Zimbabwe's contested Chiadzwa diamond fields after several firms mining there were abruptly ordered out."