Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Manicaland Bureau
ZIMBABWE Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) is considering ring-fencing its alluvial fields to allow local villagers to embark on organised artisanal mining where they sell the proceeds to Government through the State miner to plug leakages.
In an interview with The Herald, ZCDC chief executive Dr Morris Mpofu said the initiative would ensure that locals also benefited from the resource.
“We are considering ring-fencing our alluvial fields to accommodate local villagers to come and officially register to do artisanal mining,” he said.
“This will be done in a ring-fenced manner, which is consistent with best practices that are happening in other countries like South Africa.”
Dr Mpofu said the company was still doing feasibility studies on how best it could engage the community without violating the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).
“The modalities and the framework need to be worked on. Some feasibility studies are still underway to see how best we can do it in a manner that is in line with the KPCS,” he said.
“We want to try and avoid intruders coming from other areas to do diamond panning in Marange.
“This will also allow self-regulation and policing as the people of Marange will guard the fields that they have been allocated to do artisanal mining.”
Dr Mpofu said emphasis would be put on organised artisanal mining to ensure that all proceeds would be sold through formal channels to avoid leakages.
“We want to ensure that whatever they find, they will sell to Government through ZCDC rather than on the black market and they will get paid for that,” he said.
The move to give locals more control over the resource is expected to appease the villagers who have often expressed displeasure that they have remained poor despite owning one of the most valuable minerals in the country.
Earlier this year, some of the villagers staged a demonstration against ZCDC and accused the company of failing to create jobs and eradicating poverty in the area among other issues.
Since then, the state miner has engaged the Bocha and Marange communities to come up with sustainable solutions to the problems by drafting a Memorandum of Understanding, which is expected to govern how the two parties work together going forward.