The former chief executive of Zimplats, one of the country’s largest platinum producers, told United States embassy officials that Chiadzwa had the potential to become one of the world’s biggest diamond mines.
Greg Sebborn, who was now a consultant for African Consolidated Resources which had the claims to the Marange diamonds, said on 19 November 2008 that over US$1 billion had been realised by Chiadzwa diamond sellers over the previous eight months.
The government had, however, received very little revenue. The biggest beneficiaries were insiders in President Robert Mugabe’s government.
Sebborn said central bank governor Gideon Gono had invited the chief executive of Alrosa, Russia’s biggest diamond company, and might want to sell the Russians some rights in Chiadzwa.
Viewing cable 08HARARE1035, ZIMBABWE DIAMONDS: THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/19/2018
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE DIAMONDS: THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING
REF: A. HARARE 1016
¶B. 07 HARARE 319
Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)
¶1. (C) We spoke about the Chiadzwa diamond fields on
November 19 with Greg Sebborn. Sebborn is the former CEO of
Zimplats and is currently a consultant to African
Consolidated Resources (ACR). He has good connections within
the Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ).
¶2. (C) Sebborn said Chiadzwa had the potential to be one of
the world’s largest diamond mines. During the last eight
months over USD 1 billion was realized by Chiadzwa diamond
sellers. To date, the GOZ has received little revenue;
regime insiders have been the principal beneficiaries of
diamond sales. Sebborn added that in Surat, India, where
most of the world’s diamonds are cut, over one-half now come
¶3. (C) Sebborn said that the CEO of ALROSA, Russia’s biggest
diamond company, will visit Harare on November 25 at the
invitation of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono.
He speculated that ALROSA would discuss with Gono the
purchase of rights to Chiadzwa.
¶4. (C) With reference to ACR’s legal claim to Chiadzwa (Ref
B), Sebborn said that ACR had received a favorable ruling in
the High Court that the GOZ was refusing to honor. For the
time being, rather than pursuing the matter legally, ACR was
trying to convince the GOZ to let it operate Chiadzwa in
exchange for a share of the profits. Sebborn opined that ACR
had not been able to strike a deal because regime insiders
are enjoying tremendous income under the status quo and are
not concerned about the government and its need for revenues.