Zimbabwe’s mines minister Winston Chitando said Zimbabwe will allow two new private companies to explore and mine diamonds in the country. In light of the new development, there will now be four firms operating in the country’s mining sector.
Chitando said Zimbabwe does not intend to change its ownership rules for diamonds and platinum. The news dented hopes among some miners, who wanted the country to open up ownership, especially with the announcement of mineral frameworks coming up soon.
A video posted on the Information Ministry official Twitter page shows Chitando telling reporters that cabinet had adopted a new diamond policy that would see two more private companies being allowed to explore and mine diamonds. He however failed to release the name of the two diamond firms.
The minister said any company or person with title for diamonds would have to go into partnership with the four companies.
The largest diamond fields are in Marange in eastern Zimbabwe, where production is dominated by the state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company. It is expected to produce 3.5 million carats this year, up from 2.5 million in 2017.
Presently, Murowa Diamonds is the only private company mining diamonds in south central Zimbabwe.
According to Chitando, “four is a number which was felt that it would give government and all stakeholders the effective monitoring of what is happening on the ground”.
Mugabe’s government evicted all diamond mining firms, including two Chinese joint venture companies from Marange in 2016. The government revealed that their licences had expired after they declined to merge under the state-owned mining firm.