Zim to miss 2016 diamond target

HARARE - Zimbabwe is expected to miss its six million carat 2016 diamond output projection by 58 percent following Mines minister Walter Chidakwa’s decision to boot out all, but two, of the country’s diamond miners, it has emerged.

Chamber of Mines Zimbabwe president Toi Muganyi yesterday told a mining output meeting in the capital that while the country had realised a 4,7 million carat output last year, prompting the six million 2016 target, the sector was expected to produce two million carats this year.

“In the diamond sector, we expect a two million carat output following disturbances recorded earlier during the year,” he said.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa also said the sector, “which has its work cut out due to enormous expectations”, continued to perform dismally.

“While we had set a six million carat projection for the diamond sector we are nowhere close to that, as Treasury our sincere hope is that after all these disturbances, the sector moves on and becomes more productive for a change,” the Treasury chief said.

This comes as Chidakwa told the country’s former diamond mining companies to pack and go early this year then promptly forming the controversial Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), which is reportedly operating illegally.

ZCDC was formed after Zimbabwe diamond miners rejected a consolidation proposal by government in which government was set to have 50 percent in the new company, while other players were to proportionally share among themselves the other 50 percent stake based on their balance sheets.

Diamond mining in the country has always been shrouded in mystery with former miners not remitting enough to Treasury as well as operating on expired grants.

However, the parliamentary portfolio committee on Mines and Energy chaired by Masvingo Urban Member of Parliament Daniel Shumba recently established that the parastatal was operating without an Act of Parliament.

State enterprises in the country are guided by Acts of Parliament, rendering the diamond mining firm illegal.

As at March 31, ZCDC had mined 160 000 carats of diamonds, with 206 000 carats being mined in April as an additional 140 000 carats were realised in May. The figures — a far cry from last year’s statistics saw the state owned company remit about $2 million to Treasury.

The company had realised a $21 million revenue and $6,7 million profit as at end of May.

During the last six years, diamond firms contributed $637,3 million in terms of payments to government — an amount which steadily plummeted to a $23,4 million fiscal contribution in 2015 from the $125,2 million which made its way into the fiscus from the miners in 2010.

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