Marange diamond output drops 62pct as court cases drag

Marange diamond output drops 62pct as court cases drag

HARARE, December 5 (The Source) – Zimbabwe has so far produced 900,000 carats of diamonds this year from its Marange fields, a third of the 3,2 million carats produced over the same period last year, dragged by court cases in which miners are challenging a government decision to expropriate their claims.

Government ordered all diamond miners in Marange to cease operations on February 22 this year after they declined its proposals to nationalise the industry. The government said the miners’ licenses had expired and accused them of failing to account for revenue from their operations.

The mines had resisted a plan by the government to bring them under one firm in which the state would own 50 percent.

Government already held 50 percent in each of the Marange diamond miners but wanted to consolidate their operations under its Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC).

The affected miners were Anjin Investments, Diamond Mining Company, Jinan, Kusena, Marange Resources, DTZ-Ozgeo and Mbada Diamonds.

They challenged the consolidation in the High Court but lost the case. They have since appealed to the Constitutional Court.

“So far delivered to ZCDC in terms of weight, the total is 924,388 carats and that compares very badly with 3,2 million carats for 2015. The explanation is that the 924,000 carats are coming from the two mining locations not the seven mining locations. So we need to finalise the court cases,” Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa told a parliamentary committee on mines and energy committee on Monday.

Chidhakwa said ZCDC was currently mining on the DMC and Marange Resources claims, which did not contest the government takeover.