Merged diamond firm to commence operations

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) is expected to commence operations soon after government this week announced its intention to recruit at least 12 key personnel for the merged firm.

In a notice published yesterday, government said it was seeking the services of a chief executive, chief operating officer, company secretary, chief security officer, chief finance officer, chief human resources manager mine managers and other senior technical positions for ZCDC.

The latest development is in line with Mines minister Walter Chidakwa’s intention to bring all diamond companies in Zimbabwe under one roof as part of strategies to enhance transparency and accountability in the country’s murky diamond industry. 

People privy to the goings on at the Mines ministry told businessdaily that the consolidation process was now “almost” complete and ZCDC could start operations as early as January next year.

“After minister Chidakwa announced in November that licences for all miners in Marange had expired and his stern warning to diamond firms that he would not renew their licences if they do not join the consolidated unit, all the companies are now complying,” said the source.

Information gathered by this paper shows that three diamond companies — Marange Resources Gyne Nyame and Kusena — have already been incorporated under the ZCDC, while Mbada Diamonds, Anjin Resources, Diamond Mining Company, Jinan and Murowa diamonds are in the process of compliance.

The company — to be formed by merging seven miners operating in the country’s Marange diamond fields, with the State owning 50 percent of the business — would be mandated to house all diamond concessions and claims in the country.

However, mining experts say the government’s decision to merge diamond companies without undertaking a comprehensive audit was aimed at concealing massive human rights abuse in Marange.

“The implication of this directive is that government will allow the same companies accused of plundering millions of dollars from diamond proceeds to merge without undertaking due diligence process,” said the Centre for Research and Development (CRD) in a report on Marange diamonds. 

Since the discovery of the gems in 2006, which are estimated to be 25 percent of the world’s diamonds, Zimbabwe has not enjoyed the benefits of the precious minerals with most of the proceeds being used to finance the Zanu PF-led government’s covert operations.

In 2013, $466,9 million was realised from diamond exports but nothing was remitted to treasury according to Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa.

“It is widely suspected that diamond revenues earmarked for treasury were diverted to fund Zanu PF political activities prior to the July harmonised elections of 2013,” said CRD.

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