Murowa to resume operations

HARARE - Murowa Diamonds (Murowa) is expected to resume full scale mining operations in a few weeks’ time after it has finalised contracts of companies subcontracted to do work at the mine, deputy Mines minister Fred Moyo has said.

This comes as concerns were raised by Senate last week over the 250 jobs losses after Murowa recently terminated contracts of sub-contracted companies following the lapse of their tenure.

Moyo said that although it is a company issue and therefore was not able to be specific, it was Murowa’s prerogative to award the contracts to winning bidders after which work will start again and the mine operates normally.

“Final stages of selection of the final contractors, I believe is in process,” Moyo told senators in response.

“Renewal protocols are such that they (Murowa) have to terminate the current contractors, remove them from site and then re-advertise the same contracts so that fresh bidders can come through and bid for the mining work that has to be done by contract companies,” said Moyo.

Lovemore Chimuka, Murowa’s spokesperson yesterday confirmed the development: “We have nothing to add or subtract from what the honourable deputy minister said. It is factually correct”.

Moyo also noted that the tax issue of 15 percent export levy on unbeneficiated diamonds has since been resolved after government agreed to defer the measure until further notice while the ground rental issue is receiving attention.

The Zvishavane-based diamond producer is currently engaged with government to deliberate on ground rental fees which are estimated at $3 000 per hectare for diamond mining firms and considered exorbitant in the face of a depressed operating environment.

Murowa, 78 percent owned by global resources group Rio Tinto with the other 22 percent held by locally-listed Rio Zim has been under immense pressure to comply with Zimbabwe’s indigenisation policy, which compels foreigners to cede 51 percent shareholding to locals.

It is also among diamond companies under fire to agree on government’s mandatory merger.

 

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