Zimbabwe’s rich Marange diamond fields in the east of the country can produce one million carats of diamonds per month and earn the country $800 million in dividends annually, Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa says.
That will be the target to be met by the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), the new state owned diamond company established to take over all diamond mining in Marange.
Chidhakwa said government had already sold some gems under the new company.
“About 270 000 carats was recently auctioned under ZCDC, and we intend to push production up to half a million carats. Remember we used to do 15 million carats, which means we were doing more than half a million carats per month.
“We also (previously) did 12 million carats annually, which was one million carats per month. Now if we go back to one million carats per month, you find a price of $70 to $80 per carat, which is $70 to $80 million per month. We multiply this by 10 months and get $700 million plus the extra two months, we get an average of $800 million. And naturally when that kind of money is pushed into the national fiscus, it makes it easy for government to pay its civil servants. It makes it easy for the Mines Ministry to provide its workforce with necessary resources. It also means that government will be paying its tenders in cash,” said Chidhakwa.
Government ordered all diamond miners in Marange to cease operations on February 22 after they resisted its proposals to nationalise the industry. The government said the miners’ licenses had expired and accused them of failing to account for revenue from their operations. The mines had resisted a plan by the government to bring them under one firm in which the state would own 50 percent.
There are seven miners in Marange: Anjin Investments, Diamond Mining Company, Jinan, Kusena, Marange Resources, DTZ-Ozgeo and Mbada Diamonds. The government holds 50 percent shareholding in all the firms.
Chidhakwa said that at its peak, the Marange fields produced 15 million carats per annum of alluvial diamonds.
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