Joint-venture partners Botswana Diamonds and Vast Resources Vast Resources plc have in principle been granted the right to mine diamonds on the Heritage Concession of the Marange Diamond Fields. The companies signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly investigate diamond opportunities in Zimbabwe in May this year, and last August were apparently awarded access to the Marange concession.
The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) has sold about 513,000 carats of rough goods valued at about $21.5 million since March this year after taking over two diamond operations - Marange Resources and the Diamond Mining Company. A parliamentary committee heard that ZCDC made total profits of $6.7 million from the $21.5 million of sales.
Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) CEO Mark Mabhudu and Finance Director Stewart Musekiwa have been fired just months after being appointed. The two officials "allegedly misrepresented production forecasts" to government. There were also allegations of corruption and nepotism at the company, according to The Standard newspaper. The ZCDC, a merger of the companies mining in the Marange deposits, is failing to achieve the targets set for it, according to the report.
AllAfrica reports the recently formed Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) is set to improve revenue inflows into the cash-strapped government's coffers, according to Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa. ZCDC took over operations in Marange diamond fields recently after government cancelled the permits of mining firms that were mining in the area, citing lack of transparency and investment. Chidhakwa told reporters recently that ZCDC would not wait for six months or a year to declare dividends to governments but would ensure funds were transferred to the treasury every month.
There is need to urgently come up with effective interventions to rein in chaos ignited by the order for the miners to immediately stop operations. It is not a secret that what transpired [in the chaos of years gone by] damaged the country's image ... we should not invite this upon ourselves again at a time when Zimbabwe has more pressing issues ... The U.N. has placed embargos on conflict diamonds, a tag Zimbabwe's enemies can easily place on the country if the situation in Chiadzwa is allowed to spiral out of control ...
Zimbabwe Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidakwa on Monday said all diamond mining activities in Marange and Chimanimani have to stop. He ordered the diamond miners - which are mainly partnerships between Chinese and other investors and state-owned companies - hand over the mines to the state. Mining sources have now told Fin24 the affected miners are weighing their options to respond.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe turns 92 on Sunday and, apparently, has no intention of stepping down, Reuters reports. He is Africa's oldest leader and the only president Zimbabwe has known since independence in 1980. But his reluctance to step down is causing a long-running battle in his ZANU-PF party and is distracting ministers from dealing with a stagnating economy and the worst drought in a generation. "Amid this looming starvation, coupled with an economy on the ropes, no one is paying attention to this national crisis," said main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Further evidence of the ongoing smuggling of diamonds from the Marange area of eastern Zimbabwe to Mozambique has been provided with the reporting of a case of a man who hid 72 diamonds in his underwear and was stopped shortly before he reached the Mozambique side of the border. The diamonds were reportedly worth more than $14,300. News reports in recent years have spoken of countless cases of smuggling of rough stones from Marange out of the country, particularly on behalf of senior army officers, officials, and businesspeople.
Just last week, Zimbabwe Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa announced that diamond mining licences for companies operating in the Marange alluvial area have expired, and has now said that they risk losing their licences altogether, mainly because they failed to do exploration work. They also defaulted on their fees, failed to make significant investments in their operations and misrepresented their investments in machinery, which they actually leased.
Economist and MP for Bulawayo South Eddie Cross writes a brief overview of the 'rags to riches to rags' saga of the Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe. The story is tragic in that Marange's rise and (current) fall was the government's own doing, brought about by its blind and unscrupulous pursuit of short-term gain. A beginner's guide and a lesson in how not to manage national resources.
Production of diamonds in Zimbabwe this year is expected to fall to 3.5 million carats from 5.9 million carats mined last year because of a significant decline in alluvial diamond reserves in the Marange gem fields in Manicaland Province in eastern Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe extracts alluvial diamonds from the vast Marange diamond fields but these are fast depleting, prompting calls for the exploration of new deposits. The size of the Marange fields is estimated at between 60,000 and 70,000 hectares.
Marange Resources, one of 7 private entities operating the Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe, all of which are partnered with the government under the affiliate Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), is now technically insolvent with the company’s current liabilities exceeding current assets by a staggering US$74.7 million, an audit report shows. According to a report by the auditor-general for the financial year ended December 31 2014, Marange Resources posted a net loss of US$1.5 million compared to US$30 million in the prior period in 2013.
The merging of seven Marange mining companies is expected to be completed by the end of the year, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Moyo told the National Assembly yesterday, The Herald reported. He added that diamond output had declined in 2014 to 5.9 million carats valued at $350 million from 8.9 million carats valued at $435 million in 2013.
Rough and Polished reports Zimbabwean mining company Marange Resources has been taken to court by a transport company based in Zimbabwe’s second capital, Bulawayo for failing to pay for services rendered between January 2012 and November 2013, amounting to $178 000, charged for the rental of low-bed semi-trailers to transport mining machinery and equipment.
Rough and Polished Africa correspondent Mathew Nyaungwa reports that despite earlier announcements by Mines and mining development Secretary Gudyanga that the consolidation of the firms would be wrapped up early this month, Ministry sources say the merger could take a while due to the fact Harare needs to pay millions for the valuation of all firms that are set to be bundled together.
“Diamonds are mined and chartered in private planes. I know that private planes come from here and land in Harare. They are not searched by authorities. They leave straight for Dubai and Hong Kong, We are told that the diamonds were industrial diamonds. There is no transparency, no sincerity. How are we expected to embrace this ‘Look East Policy’ that short-changes and deprives the country and its people?"
Kenias Shamuyarira, Secretary General for the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions
The workers oppose the government proposal to merge all diamond mining firms in the country into one, saying they were not consulted and that outstanding wage and labor issues must be resolved before the merger.
Jinan Mining, which is mining in the Marange region of Zimbabwe, is considering closing some of its mines in the area due to the expense of underground mining now that diamonds in its alluvial mining operations have depleted. A joint venture with the government-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), the firm has reportedly been forcing workers to resign, failing to pay salaries and closing some of its mining sites.
According to Zimbabwe's Financial Gazette, Chinese diamond mining firm, Jinan Mining, is under investigations for allegedly externalising close to half a billion dollars through BancABC. The latter is said to have facilitated the transaction and failed to inform the central bank about the movement of the cash outside the country. The money was then routed it back as investment.
The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) has called on government to desist from political interference in the process of consolidating diamond mining companies in the country. The call came amid revelations that there was poor progress being made in bringing together the mining companies.
Civil society has called on the government of Zimbabwe to stop all diamond mining activities and institute an independent commission of inquiry to establish what went wrong in Marange. The Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) and Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT) are deeply concerned that the government is going ahead with merging Marange diamond companies without consulting key stakeholders. The Marange communities stand to be severely affected by the decision to merge.
The man drowned in a local dam last week as he attempted to escape from security guards at the Diamond Mining Cooperation operation in Marange, local police confirmed.
Diamond mining employees at Zimbabwe's mines are against a government plan to create a single diamond firm that would bring together all the diamond mining companies in the country, saying they have not been consulted. Meanwhile, they also want outstanding wage payment s and labor issues resolved before any merger takes place.
According to the AWDC, the final installment of 500,000 carats of seized diamonds with an estimated value of a little under $29 million has finally been returned to Zimbabwe, bringing a complicated dispute to a close. Denying an attempt by a South African mining company to attach diamonds to an unrelated case against the State of Zimbabwe, a Belgian Court of First Instance ruled that the diamonds in question were not in fact the property of the State but the property of the Zimbabwean mining companies that produced them.
Zimbabwe will bring all diamond mining operations in the country under one firm in which the state will have a 50% shareholding, mines minister Walter Chidhakwa announced on Thursday. "We are very clear. This is a regulatory matter and we have said to them the only way you can participate in diamond mining in Zimbabwe is by being in this company," said Chidhakwa. Six companies would be folded into a single entity, including Rio Tinto’s Murowa Diamonds. The miners have until Monday to accept the proposal.