The Zimbabwean government said Thursday it will merge six mining firms in eastern Marange diamond fields into a single entity where the government will be the majority shareholder with 50 percent.
A total of six companies are mining diamonds in partnership with government in Marange, a vast diamond area discovered in 2006.
Over the years, the Zimbabwean government has complained of lack of transparency in revenue inflows from sale of the diamonds.
That has made the government consider a merger as is the case in some other diamond mining countries such as Botswana where only one entity is exploiting the gems in partnership with the government.
Minister for Mines and Mining Development Walter Chidhakwa said the merger of the diamond mining companies will bring better management in the sector and was in line with recommendation from neighboring countries such as South Africa and Botswana which are experienced in gem mining.
“The government will continue to own 50 percent and all the other companies will share the remaining 50 percent,” Chidhakwa was quoted as saying by local media.
He added the mining firms’ share will be determined by their contribution to the new company in form of capital and equipment.
The minister said government is also expecting partners for further exploratory work in the diamond fields so that the new company can go deep into mining kimberlite.
Firms in the fields have been complaining that alluvial diamonds have run out and request new mining concessions.
Chidhakwa declined the requests and accused the firms of having simply rushed into mining without carrying out sufficient exploratory work to quantify underground resources.
He said the government wants the companies to venture into underground mining which will enable them to get higher grades of diamonds.
Zimbabwe is said to possess diamond deposits enough to satisfy 25 percent of world demand. Enditem