“Zimbabwe Mining Consolidation of Little Purpose”

Harare: A member of parliament for Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has claimed that the planned consolidation of the country’s diamond mining companies in Marange is of “little purpose”.

Eddie Cross, an economist, said although less was known about the remaining deposits at Marange, it was believed that a sheet of agglomerate across much of the site was estimated to contain 9 billion carats of raw diamonds.

He said the agglomerate, which was the “source” of the alluvial diamonds that are now exhausted, was a very difficult system to mine and extract the diamonds.

“All companies on Marange have tried and failed. Anjin, in particular, has tried to break the technical barriers, but failed. The original owners of Marange, ACR, claim that only Rio Tinto of London and De Beers have the capacity to mine the agglomerate,” said Cross in an opinion published in the local media.

“If that is the case, there is little purpose in bringing all four existing mining companies together with the ZMDC in an attempt to form a local Debswana and exploit the diamonds on site.”

He said as stated in a recent audit reports, none of the four companies operating in Marange had any financial resources left.

Mbada and Marange Resources had combined debts of $74 million and none had the technology needed, said Cross.

“Surely, its time to go back to sanity, pick up the idea mooted first by ACR and form a joint venture with De Beers and then join in with Botswana in a joint marketing and processing venture which will dominate world diamond trade for many years to come,” he said.

“This would boost state revenues and create the capacity to deal with our debt problems and start a long-term process of economic activity that could lift all Zimbabweans out of poverty.”