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Marange, Chiadzwa and other diamond fields and the Kimberley Process - Index of articles
mining: a tale of shady deals and characters
Dumisani Muleya, Zimbabwe Independent
March 19, 2010
diamond mining saga has complex plots and sub-plots. It involves
a chain of companies and individuals with a shady past and whose
records are difficult to trace, in some cases for that reason. The
issue has its genesis in 2002 when South African diamond mining
giant De Beers' subsidiary, Kimberlitic Searches (Pvt) Ltd,
was granted a four-year Exclusive Prospecting Order (EPO) in Chiadzwa.
The EPO expired on March 28 2006.
Then ACR, which
is registered in the United Kingdom and listed on the London Stock
Exchange, applied for the prospecting licence and got the authority.
to peg claims in the disputed area (EOP 1523) and applied for registration
of numerous blocks of claims in the names of Canape Investments
(Pvt) Ltd, Dashaloo Investments, Possession Investments, Heavy Stuff
Investment and Olebile Investment.
ACR was then
granted a diamond prospecting licence on April 4 2006. On July 21
2006 a Mutare assistant mining commissioner wrote to ACR saying
their claims had been cancelled because Kimberlitic Searches had
already submitted an application for an extension of the EPO.
15 the Mining Commissioner in Harare wrote to ACR saying the letter
rescinding their claims was incorrect and that the claims were still
In August 2006
the Mines minister Amos Midzi reserved an area which included ACR
the minister wrote to MMCZ advising them that he had reserved an
area incorporating ACR claims to prevent illegal activities. He
also said MMCZ must facilitate investment with local and foreign
Later in the
same month Midzi visited the area with MMCZ officials and addressed
illegal miners telling them that MMCZ was the only authority lawfully
permitted on the site.
In October he
warned ACR to stop clearing and fencing the claims.
the assistant mining commissioner for Mutare told ACR that he had
been instructed by his head office to cancel their claims.
In January 2007
ACR chief executive Andrew Cranswick was summoned to Borrowdale
police station in Harare where police seized three sealed boxes
containing 129 400 carats of diamonds.
These are the
diamonds the Supreme Court recently ruled should be kept at the
Reserve Bank until the case is finalised. Police have seized the
diamonds in violation of the Supreme Court ruling. Mugabe and Mpofu
have defended the move, risking criminal contempt of court charges.
As we report
elsewhere, mineral claims are easy to change ownership because the
Mines ministry is riddled with corruption and EPOs are granted and
cancelled sometimes depending on who pays the highest "facilitation
licence and mining rights were taken and given to the state-owned
ZMDC and MMCZ to carry out mining operations on behalf of the government.
But the trouble
was that MMCZ has no legal mandate to mine. ZMDC had no money to
fund the operations. Investigations show that ZMDC, which mined
from 2006 to 2008 at Chiadzwa, got US$12 million from gold mines
and put it into Chiadzwa.
It also borrowed
offshore from its current mining partners, which throws further
light on why the controversial mining rights were given to Mbada
and Canadile. When ZMDC started mining in 2007 the Mines ministry
gave it permission to hunt for a partner.
took the issue to the courts in a bid to regain its prospecting
licence and the diamond claims in Chiadzwa. The Attorney-General's
Office declined to represent the state. Instead it offered an opinion
stating that in its considered view the mining claim belonged to
minister Obert Mpofu opposed the ACR application. The other respondents
were ZMDC, MMCZ and Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri.
Hungwe ruled in favour of ACR and said his order should stand notwithstanding
an appeal. Mpofu and others appealed and the Supreme Court said
all mining activities must stop pending the finalisation of the
appeal. It suspended Hungwe's order. The case continues.
The main players
in the Chiadzwa saga:
- The Zimbabwe
Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), a statutory body established
in terms of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation Act. The
ZMDC is government's mining arm.
Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), a statutory body established
in terms of the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe Act.
MMCZ is the state minerals marketing agency.
- New Reclamation
Group (Reclam) of South Africa and Core Mining and Minerals (Pty)
Ltd. The two companies were brought into the diamond deals by
Mpofu through Mbada chairman Robert Mhlanga who is well-connected
all the way to President Robert Mugabe.
- Mbada is
a 50/50 joint venture between ZMDC's subsidiary Marange
Minerals and Reclam's subsidiary Grandwell Holdings
Miners, a 50/50 joint venture between Marange Resources and Grandwell
chairs Mbada, while Canadile is chaired by former army officer
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