Zimbabwe: Govt. closes diamond mining firms, NGOs urge respect for human rights in closure

The Government of Zimbabwe has ordered diamond mining companies in Chiadzwa and Chimanimani to stop operations and clear their equipment in 90 days as the government will take over all diamond mining operations in the country. President Mugabe has stated that the companies "looted" the country's diamond revenue as only about US$2 billion was remitted to treasury "yet we think more than $15 billion has been earned" in diamond mining.

Centre for Research and Development (Zimbabwe) has called upon the government to withdraw military personnel from the Marange diamond fields; require companies to submit audited reports, and make the reports public; investigate diamond executives and "hold them to account for resource plunder and human rights violations"; and create a "consultative forum for all stakeholders" to address those forcibly removed from the Marange diamond zones without compensation. 

The companies ordered to stop operations and vacate Marange diamond fields include Anjin, Diamond Mining Corporation, Jinan, Mbada Diamonds, DTZ Ozgeo, Rera, Gye-Nyame, Kusena and Marange Resources. Articles and statements relating to this story are below:

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Article
21 August 2016

Marange communities and NGOs implore govt. to disband newly formed Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company; say company worse than previous companies

Author: Clayton Masekesa, News Day (Zimbabwe)

"Marange communities implore government to disband ZCDC", 13 Aug 2016

Communities in the Marange diamond mining area have called on the newly-established Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) to halt operations, alleging it was worse than the previous mining firms...During an emotional Marange community-led annual general meeting — initiated by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association — in Mutare...the communities implored the government to disband ZCDC over its glaring failure to extract diamonds transparently and uphold human rights. Malvin Mudiwa, from Marange Community Development Trust, said human rights violations by members of the military and police, as well as the company’s security personnel, had worsened....Causemore Musaamba, from Arda Transau Development Trust, said some villagers, who were relocated to make way for the diamond mines, had been dumped and were now wallowing in poverty and hunger...Centre for Natural Resource Governance director, Farai Maguwu (pictured), said government was taking the nation for a ride..."ZCDC is just a group of looters led by officials in the Mines ministry. It is a group of corrupt officials, who have worsened mining operations in Marange. [The Government of Zimbabwe closed diamond mines in Marange and other parts of the country and formed ZCDC early this year].

 

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Article
4 March 2016

Mugabe was aware of looting of US$15 billion diamond revenue, says former finance minister

Author: Blessing Zulu, VOA News (USA)

"Former Finance Minister Claims Mugabe Was Aware of Looting of US$15 Billion Diamond Revenue", 5 Mar 2016

Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who was in Zimbabwe's Government of National Unity (GNU), says he furnished President Robert Mugabe with all details that diamond revenue from Marange in Manicaland province was being looted but he refused to act. Biti said Mr. Mugabe was dismissive when he approached him with the evidence of looting..."And one of the things Mugabe used to say to me was, why go after diamonds, how about platinum …”...In 2012, Partnership Africa Canada, a member of the Kimberley Process charged that at least US$2 billion worth of diamonds had been stolen from Zimbabwe's eastern diamond fields and had enriched President Mugabe's inner circle, international gem dealers and criminals...

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Article
3 March 2016

Mining companies looted more than US$15 billion in diamonds from Marange, says Mugabe

Author: Brezhnev Malaba, African Independent

"More than $15 billion in diamonds looted, says Mugabe", 4 Mar 2016

In an astonishing confession, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has revealed that diamonds worth more than $15 billion have been looted in the eastern mining area of Marange...“We have not received much from the diamond industry at all. I don’t think we have exceeded $2 billion yet we think more than $15 billion has been earned,” Mugabe said [on state television, ZTV]...In frank remarks that have stunned Zimbabweans, Mugabe also revealed that the country has failed to learn from neighbouring Botswana, Namibia and Angola on how to manage the diamond sector. The Zimbabwean leader defended [the recent] dramatic eviction of nine diamond-mining companies from the Marange area, including Chinese firms Anjin and Jinan.  The eviction of the diamond companies came a month after the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, John Mangudya, complained about the non-transparent operations of the firms...

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Article
23 February 2016

Govt. must force mining companies to account for plunder of Zimbabwe diamonds, says NGO

Author: Centre for Research and Development-CRD (Zimbabwe)

"CRD Press Statement on Closure of Diamond Operations", 24 Feb 2016

...Diamond mining operations in Marange have been a site of lack of transparency and accountability since commencement of mining operations in 2008. Opaque mining practices have deeply impoverished local communities...[G]overnment has decided to centralise its oversight in the exploitation of diamonds... The CRD is however concerned that government has...[not undertaken] due diligence processes that would have forced mining companies to account for economic plunder of Zimbabwe’s diamonds... The cessation of mining operations is an opportunity for government to give closure to perennial problems in the diamond sector by addressing the following:

  • Immediate withdrawals of all military personnel in Marange diamond fields and strengthen police operations to maintain law and order...
  • Immediate freezing of all company assets in the diamond fields and initiate due diligence processes. Companies must submit audited reports and government must have them published during this period.
  • Government must investigate all diamond executives involved in Marange diamond mining and hold them to account for resource plunder and human rights violations.
  • Institute a consultative forum for all stakeholders in which the legitimate submission of the forcibly removed and uncompensated peoples of Marange would be tabled and considered in the proposed new structures...

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Article
22 February 2016

Govt. takes over diamond mining companies, gives them 90 days to wind up

Author: Lloyd Gumbo, The Herald (Zimbabwe)

"Diamond firms get 90 days to wind up", 23 Feb 2016

The Zimbabwean Government] has given diamond mining companies in Chiadzwa and Chimanimani 90 days to remove their equipment and other valuables from the mines after it stopped their operations…The firms whose mining special grants expired and were not renewed will, however, be expected to hand over all diamond products to Government personnel…[The firms are] Anjin [joint venture Anhui Foreign Economic Construction & ZMDC], Diamond Mining Corporation, Jinan, Mbada Diamonds [joint venture New Reclamation Group/Grandwell & ZMDC], DTZ Ozgeo, Rera, Gye-Nyame, Kusena and Marange Resources. Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa…said Government decided to consolidated all diamond mining in Zimbabwe into one company- Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company [ZCDMC]…

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