Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
The merging of seven mining firms in Marange diamond fields is expected to be completed by the end of the year, the National Assembly heard yesterday.
By that time, the newly formed company would be expected to have established a strategic plan for competitive marketing and production of the gems.
Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Cde Fred Moyo said the future of diamond production was bright given the plans Government was putting in place for the sector.
He said this in the National Assembly while responding to legislators during a question-and-answer session.
Southerton MP Mr Gift Chimanikire (MDC-T), had asked him when the full exploration was expected to be conducted to establish the exact value of diamonds in Marange.
“The ministry is currently engaged in consolidating all the diamond operators in the country. It is hoped that this exercise will be concluded in the latter part of this year, after which the new consolidated company will establish a strategic plan to explore, extract, process and market diamonds competitively,” said Cde Moyo.
He said diamond output for 2014 had declined from 8,9 million carats valued at $453 million in 2013 to 5,9 million carats valued $350 million.
Mr Chimanikire had asked for the total value of diamonds auctioned in 2014 compared to 2013.
“This represents a 33,7 percent drop by volume and a 22,7 percent drop by value but a 14 percent increase on unit price in 2014. This volume drop in sales reflects a drop in production, which is a result of transition from mining loose gravels to hard rock mining of conglomerates that involves drilling, blasting and crushing of ore, resulting in longer lead times and higher production costs,” said Cde Moyo.
“Honourable members should note that before December 2013, diamond sales were conducted locally by a tender system before Government decided to benchmark its sales on the international market.
“Diamond sales were conducted in Harare, Dubai and Antwerp,” said Cde Moyo.
In the new arrangement, Government’s 50 percent shareholding will be anchored on the natural resource that it owns.
Cde Moyo said coal produced in Zimbabwe was sufficient for local requirements although in a few cases there were imports where local production did not meet required technical specifications or cost.
Responding to another question, Vice President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa said a biometric voters roll would only be used once Treasury secured funding to acquire the necessary equipment.
“For it to be implemented, we need resources to acquire the equipment.
“I am not sure if the Minister of Finance will be able to provide resources,” said VP Mnangagwa, who is also Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister in response to a question from Harare Central MP Mr Murisi Zwizwai.
He said the General Laws Amendment Bill aligning more than 400 pieces of legislation with the new Constitution was ready and due for gazetting.
Responding to another question, VP Mnangagwa said traditional leaders were entitled to form opinions on political issues but were not allowed to hold positions in political parties.
Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister Professor Paul Mavima said Grade Seven pupils would be required to pay $3 for examination fees.
He said the fees could start being paid while the pupil is in Grade Five.