ZIMBABWE’s diamond sector has received the much needed boost after Government struck a resumption of operations agreement with some companies in Chiadzwa that had earlier blocked Zimbabwe Diamond Consolidated Company (ZCDC) mining activities through court action.
Diamond production at Chiadzwa had plummeted to an all-time low as production at the three mines owned by Anjin, Jinan and Mbada stopped after the firms contested Government’s consolidation plan. Government ordered all diamond miners in the Chiadzwa/Marange to cease operations in February last year to pave way for consolidation of the sector following production and accountability issues. Three of the seven firms that operated in Chiadzwa went to court alleging breach of contract by Government.
The Court processes prevented ZCDC from moving into areas where the evicted diamond mines – Anjin, Jinan and Mbada – were exploiting the gems. But under the latest agreement, Jinan has agreed to surrender all its activities at Marange/Chiadzwa with immediate effect while Anjin is also expected to follow suit. The two companies also agreed to withdraw pending litigation against Government to settle all issues out of court.
This fresh development sets the stage for Government to implement revival of operations in Chiadzwa for diamonds to make a significant contribution to the fiscus. Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa told our Harare Bureau that Jinan had agreed to cede their mining claims to ZCDC.
He said plans are afoot for Anjin to do the same in a development which means that claims owned by Mbada Diamonds will remain contested. Minister Chidhakwa said Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Huang Ping was instrumental in getting Government and the Chinese companies to find each other and thrash out the deal following more than a year of disagreement.
Minister Chidhakwa said under the agreement, Jinan would be allowed to take its equipment while also settling other due obligations such as liabilities.