Harare: Zimbabwe’s finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the country should urgently address the “sector issues militating against efficient” production of diamonds.
Although he could not spell out the challenges during his 2017 budget presentation, Harare’s decision to merge diamond mining operations in Marange had not yielded intended results.
Although the erstwhile Marange diamond mining companies were accused of siphoning revenue, the newly established Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) had been struggling to deliver more stones and revenue.
ZCDC, which was currently mining on the DMC and Marange Resources claims, had so far this year produced 924, 388 carats compared with 3,2 million carats recorded over the same period in 2015.
Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa recently said that the weak output was due to court cases in which erstwhile Marange miners were challenging a government decision to expropriate their claims.
When Harare ordered diamond miners in Marange to cease operations on February 22 this year after they declined its proposals to nationalise the industry, the ousted firms challenged the consolidation in the High Court, but lost the case. They, however, appealed to the Constitutional Court.
Meanwhile, Chinamasa said that government would evaluate the proposal received from Parliamentarians to subject diamond marketing to arrangements similar to those applicable to gold in liaison with all the stakeholders involved.
Gold miners deliver their produce to Fidelity Printers, which was owned by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.