Marange gem collapse after govt takeoverDIAMOND output at Chiadzwa have plummeted following the take-over of the Marange diamond fields by government early this year.

According to Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa, 924,000 carats have been mined since government became the sole shareholder compared to 3,2 million carats in 2015.

Chidhakwa said the drop was a result of limited mining operations as government, through the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company, struggles to gain full control of the fields as some companies challenged the decision in court.

“If you compare 3,2 million with just under one million you can see we fared badly,” said Chidhakwa.

“But the explanation is that those are coming from two mining locations, that is formerly Marange and DMC areas, not the seven mining locations. We need to finalise the court cases.

“We have formally finalized negotiations with Russians so that we can take over.”

Chidhakwa was presenting evidence before the Mines and Energy Parliament Committee on Monday.

China-owned Anjin and Jinan are among the companies that have taken government to court after being given 90 days to seize operations.

Although the companies lost the High Court challenge, the matter is now awaiting determination in the constitutional court. Mbada diamonds was reportedly dragging its feet.

Chidhakwa revealed that government was also exploring the government-to-government route as discussions with the adamant companies failed to yield positive results.

“I have also been having been discussing with the various embassies so that we sought out a diplomatic discussion out of this situation,” he said.

Diamond mining in the country was shrouded in controversy amid concerns by former Finance minister Tendai Biti that the companies were not remitting anything to treasury. Reports claimed that the precious gems were being looted by top government officials.

President Robert Mugabe told delegates at his birthday celebrations this year that $15 billion in diamond revenue had gone missing. No investigation was launched despite a public outcry.

Title: Marange gem collapse after govt takeover

Author: New Zimbabwe

Source: New Zimbabwe

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