Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa has said that diamond mining licences for companies operating in the Marange area have expired.
This comes as some of the companies in the area were resisting Government’s push for a consolidated diamond entity.
Government plans to create a consolidated mining company for diamonds which would bring order in the sector and was in line with recommendations from other regional countries such as South Africa and Botswana that have been mining the gems longer.
There are seven companies operating in Marange, namely Mbada Diamonds, Anjin, Marange Resources, Gye Nyame, Kusena, Jinan and the Diamond Mining Company.
Commercial operations in the Marange area started in 2009.
Minister Chidhakwa said the sub-sector was one of the most difficult as some of the companies constantly shifted goal posts and misrepresented facts.
“What I can tell you is that all Marange diamond mining licences have expired. It’s up to the minister to decide if he can renew them or not.”
With these latest comments from the minister, it is most likely that the consolidation of the companies will meet the year-end target for completion.
Recently, Minister Chidhakwa said there had been resistance by some diamond miners of the proposed consolidation of companies in the sub-sector as most risk losing out on shareholding as they did not make significant investment into their operations.
Minister Chidhakwa told the 2015 Zimbabwe Mining and Infrastructure Indaba that the firms misrepresented that they had invested significantly into mining equipment and machinery, yet they leased the equipment and had little value of their own on their balance sheets.
Minister Chidhakwa said despite resistance, Government is not going to look back.
“The drastic fall in diamond production calls for swift action as the companies have not invested beyond alluvial.
“Companies did not bring in the required capital for exploration as they concentrated on alluvial mining, that is why as Government we are moving to consolidate the companies to save the future of the sector and we are not looking back.
“Our position is that, Government has enunciated a policy, and that policy is that we will have one diamond mining company in this country,” he said.
The consolidation model is based on valuations of equipment and other investments.