Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Merging of diamond companies mining diamonds at Chiadzwa could take longer than anticipated as Government faces a legal hurdle in how to bring the firms together without violating their original contracts.
This poser was confirmed by Mines and Mining Development deputy Minister Cde Fred Moyo in an interview with The Herald last week. He said the companies had running legal contracts which should be respected.
“Mines are operating at the moment under legal contracts, so if we are going to compress them we must do it legally, respecting investment, respecting our laws, without creating different views of how we do things,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.
“That is the area we need to tackle now and we are working on that. We are not yet clear as to how we are going to address these various aspects so that we are not seen to be disfranchising people who invested in our country under specific laws at that point in time.”
Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa is on record saying diamond mining firms would be merged to streamline their operations and ensure accountability for their proceeds.
Last year some of the diamond mining firms told Minister Chidhakwa during a maiden tour of the diamond fields that they had run out of alluvial gems and asked to be allocated new claims.
But deputy Minister Moyo said it was unheard of that mining firms would only want to extract alluvial diamonds.
He said every mining venture was supposed to strike a balance between cheap and expensive resources to mine.
He said the firms were allocated claims with alluvial, conglomerates and kimberlites.
“We do not want to go and harvest all the easy-to-mine resource and then get an elbow of costs upwards. Suddenly Zimbabwean diamonds are expensive in the market compared to what was happening yesterday.
“Why do we not balance the extraction of our mineral resources regardless whether it’s coal or diamonds, it’s open cast or underground so that we get an average? That is all we have asked for. So to say the alluvial diamonds have run out is incorrect,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.
He said while exploration had not yet been carried out to establish the exact quantity of diamonds in Chiadzwa, geological scientific research showed the fields had not been exhausted.