Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company has commenced operations with over 100 000 carats having been mined two months after operations started. Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said yesterday that all revenue proceeds from the mining activities of the merged company will now accrue to Treasury. This is in spite the fact that three companies opposed to the consolidation of diamond mining companies have gone to court to challenge Government’s decision.The companies that have taken Government to court over consolidation include Mbada Diamonds and Anjin Investments, all joint ventures with the State in diamond mining.
The case was heard before the High Court on Tuesday and judgment was reserved. Minister Chinamasa said Government will abide by outcome of the court’s ruling.
However, the Treasury chief stated in no uncertain terms that Government would not back down on the process of consolidating the sector in search of better returns.
He said an agreement has been reached with Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa for the revenue to go to fiscus for more transparency and accountability, which has hogged controversy since the mining started in 2209.
Minister Chinamasa made the remarks on the developments in the sector when briefing the Press on various initiatives Government has taken to turn around the economy.
He said this after his meeting with International Monetary Fund team led by chief of mission for article IV consultations and review of the IMF staff monitored programme, Mr Dominic Fanizza who confirmed Zimbabwe had met all the benchmarks.
In what may rank as one of the murkiest financial scandals in Zimbabwe, speaking during his belated birthday celebrations on State broadcaster, ZBC recently President Mugabe said the country could have realised a mere $2 billion from its rich diamond resources amid fears an estimated $15 billion could have been looted.
Minister Chinamasa said paltry diamond revenue inflow has always been a point of concern.
“We have never ceased expressing our disappointment over little revenue flowing into the fiscus from the diamond sector. We are consolidating it for transparency and accountability; we want transparency and accountability. So Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company has been incorporated and has already started work . . . now probably in their first month or second month,” he said.
In 2013, State-owned mining firm, Zimbabwe Mining Development Company, projected 16,9 million carats would be extracted from Chiadzwa diamond fields annually. Such output would have seen Zimbabwe earning at least $2 billion annually.
Minister Chinamasa said the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company has since received about $3,5 million from Treasury for equipment and working capital and, as such, has started mining through resources from his ministry.
Minister Chinamasa said that to ensure transparency and accountability in production and marketing of diamonds, the figures would be regularly made available to the public.
Further, the minister said the new diamond mining company would be required to produce audited financial accounts to deter the possibility of fraud on its activities.
“We are now receiving figures of their daily production. They have already started extracting diamonds from dumps and have done 100 000 carats. We are going to publish the figures,” he said.