After months of wrangling between the government and mining companies operating in Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond fields over plans to merge all of them into a single government-controlled entity, authorities on Monday ordered all mining firms to stop work and leave. The wholly state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) will now hold all the diamond mining claims.
The Zimbabwe government already has a 50 percent stake in eight of the nine firms operating in the two diamond fields near the Mozambique border in Zimbabwe’s east. The ninth is wholly government owned.
Zimbabwe Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa said that the eight companies that the government has a 50 percent stake in “neglected or failed to renew” their mining grants. He said that as they no longer held titles, they had been asked to stop all mining activities as of Monday morning. He added that the government’s position was final and non-negotiable.
Despite the takeover, the minister said the state was not nationalising the mines, as the government was not seizing any of the mining equipment and only reclaiming the mining titles which it held anyway. He gave the companies 90 days to remove their equipment.