HARARE, March 18 (The Source) – Global resources giant Rio Tinto plc paid $14 million in taxes to Zimbabwe out of a universal figure of $7,1 billion in 2014, reflecting its receding footprint in the country.
Rio Tinto sold off most of its assets in the country to RioZim in 2004 but retained a 78 percent interest in Murowa Diamonds near Zvishavane.
Murowa is an open pit mining operation which began in 2004 and produces about 400,000 carats per annum of large, predominantly white, gem-quality diamonds.
At 442,000 carats in 2014, Murowa production was seven per cent higher than in 2013.
The company reserves 10 percent of production for the local cutting and polishing industry as per government regulations.
In a tax report, the company said it had paid $1 million in corporate tax and $13 million in royalties.
Regionally, it paid $2 million in Mozambique, $6 million in Namibia and $110 million in South Africa.
Rio Tinto is a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a global standard which seeks to promote open and accountable management of natural resources, compels it to disclose payments to governments of countries where it has operations.
Corporate transparency has become a major issue in Africa and in January this year, a joint panel run by the United Nations and the African Union led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki released a report, which showed that companies and government officials are illegally moving as much as $60 billion out of Africa each year, depriving the world’s poorest continent of capital and tax revenue that could spur faster economic growth.
Rio Tinto and RioZim also jointly own the moribund Sengwa coal mine near Gokwe.