'Gye Nyame still intact'

HARARE - DIAMOND mining company Gye Nyame Resources (GNR) is still intact and ready to commence full production as soon as it gets ministerial clearance and guidance, board chairperson Manson Mnaba has said.

This comes as the Daily News has reported that government had resolved to dissolve the GNR joint venture after a series of external audits have exposed Ghanaian firm Bill Minerals’ “irretrievable failure to capitalise the business and other acts of neglect of its obligations”.

“Yes, they have been topical issues in the mainstream media against our company, but I am glad to advise that the major shareholder, which is government of Zimbabwe, is on top of the situation and sooner rather than later an amicable settlement will be made,” Mnaba told a local publication.

GNR is a private-public partnership between a Ghanaian investor and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, and hold title of Block G in Marange with an estimated $8 billion worth of diamonds of both gem quality and industrial.

While the company was thrust into the spotlight after President Robert Mugabe had said a number of his government officials had solicited for a $6 million bribe from William Atto Essien’s company, GNR’s workers have gone without pay for nearly a year ? thus forcing the company to send dozens on forced leave.

Even, though, a team of nine Zimbabwe Republic Police detectives was reportedly dispatched to Accra, Ghana months ago to substantiate Essien and the 89-year-old’s serious allegations, the former failed to take up the offer.

Should government succeed to cut ties with GNR, it becomes the second private sector player to lose its mining rights in the controversial gem fields after Lovemore Kurotwi’s Canadile Miners in recent years.

Although sources close to the development say the company was technically insolvent ? with several outstanding statutory obligations and other bills ? Mnaba said his board is still functioning and busy exploring ways to exploit the vast endowment in the diamond-rich block.

“We have tremendous confidence in the newly appointed minister of Mines, Walter Chidhakwa given his rich resume in turning around institutions.

“My board stands ready to execute his directives timeously and effectively,” the astute businessman and Aurosome Property Development owner said.

And since taking over in March 2013, Mnaba’s board has instituted several measures to stabilise the operation, but this has not been enough owing to serious under funding.

At most, the Ghanaian investor injected only $8 million out of an agreed $110 million, according to forensic reports.

Zimbabwe is billed as the fourth largest diamond producer in the world.

The nation’s total diamond production from Marange increased from 8,7 million carats in 2011 to 12 million carats last year.

Last year, production was expected to rise further reaching over 17 million carats.

However, capital and equipment were needed for this to occur.

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