Zimbabwe has ordered diamond mining companies in its Marange fields to cease operation immediately, as they are not licensed to continue. The miners have 90 days to remove their equipment from the fields after rejecting a proposal to amalgamate the mining sector.
“Since they no longer hold any titles, these companies were notified this morning to cease all mining activities with immediate effect,” Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa told reporters and executives from the affected companies on Monday. There are nine joint-venture companies operating the Marange fields, each holding just 50 percent stake in their companies while the government holds the remaining 50 percent.
According to Chidhakwa, the move was of vital importance to national economic development of the country.
The minister had last March asked all diamond mining operations in the country to combine to form one entity in which the state will have a 50 percent shareholding, as concerns of transparency and accountability became a subject of discuss in the extractive industry. The miners declined.
During the 90-day ultimatum with which the miners are expected to remove equipment and other valuables from the site, access to the Marange fields will be by request which has to be approved by the ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
With the Marange diamond miners — Diamond Mining Company, Anjin Investments, Jinan, Kusena, Mbada Diamonds and Marange Resources — which have carried out open cast operations saying, last year, they had hit hard rock, the new state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company which will now hold all the diamond claims in the country, is expected to embark on underground mining operations once fully capitalised.