Fidelis Munyoro Senior Reporter
Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa yesterday said the process of bringing all diamond companies in the country under the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Corporation (ZCDC) is now at an advanced stage. The company would house all diamond concessions and claims in the country.
In an interview, Minister Chidhakwa said the ZCDC was established as a legal entity, which now has a board of directors in place although not yet complete.
He said more appointments to the board would be made in due course. He said so far three diamond companies — Marange Resources Gyne Nyame and Kusena would, with immediate effect, be subsumed under the ZCDC.
“This is a process we are undertaking to have all the diamond companies incorporated into the single entity,” said Minister Chidhakwa. “The companies whose concessionary licenses have expired will have the concession put under the ZCDC. What it means is that the ground from which they were operating is now open to prospecting.”
Minister Chidhakwa said as it stands now legal, financial and human resources consolidation processes are under way.
The promulgation of the diamonds mines consolidation policy has resulted in the incorporation of the ZCDC, which is solely mandated to explore, mine, recover and sell diamonds on behalf of Government. The company is now scouting for suitably qualified and experienced personnel for key strategic positions.
More than nine diamond companies are operating in the country with the majority mining alluvial diamonds in the Marange area. Those located in Marange area include Marange Resources, Mbada Diamonds, Anjin Resources, Diamond Mining Company, Gyne Nyame, Kusena and Jinan.
Murowa Diamonds mines in Zvishavane while River Range Mines operates in Beitbridge.
Recently, Minister Chidhakwa said the merging of companies would be valued on net assets value and that will determine the shareholding structure in the company.
He said the ministry would also look at the model that will guide on the shareholding. Government is likely to have 50 percent shareholding in the new company while the companies will share the remaining 50 percent. Shareholders of companies mining in Marange might, however, emerge losers as it was revealed that most of them had little or no assets and relied on hired machinery to undertake cheap open cast mining of alluvial diamonds in the area.
The companies have also come under fire for failing to honour pledges of capital they promised when they were granted licences. Production in the area has gone down after the alluvial diamonds ran out and the companies now argue that they do not have money to mine deeper-lying kimberlites.
Rio Tinto, a global mining firm which used to own 78 percent of Murowa Diamonds exited Zimbabwe in June after a 60-year presence, following the disposal of its shareholding in Murowa Diamonds and Sengwa Coal.