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Marange, Chiadzwa and other diamond fields and the Kimberley Process - Index of articles
Zimbabwe diamond policy emerges as Biti reads riot act
July 14, 2010
A rational diamond
mining policy entailing nationalising the resource is beginning
to emerge from the inclusive government, with Minister of Finance,
Tendai Biti, demanding accountability for at least US$30 million
which the Treasury should have received from Marange diamonds that
have been sold, but which neither the Treasury nor the revenue authority
ZIMRA know anything about.
showed that Marange produced $25 million, MMCZ mopped up $5 million
worth and the "Police/MMD" handed over 200 000 worth of
diamonds but in stock there was only $155 thousand worth or Marange
diamonds, $6 000 worth of MMCZ diamonds. So where did the money
In a section
of his 2010 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review called Leveraging Mineral
Resources and presented to Parliament today, Biti repeated what
previous Zanu (PF) governments said, that the extractive industries
in Zimbabwe were producing but the revenue was not finding its way
to the people.
previous statements Zanu (PF) ministers and Reserve Bank Governor
Gideon Gono referred to "leakages" - meaning that minerals
were being exported illegally or smuggled, as far back as 2006,
nothing was done about it.
by the likes of Farayi Maguwu's ngo to expose the same issues have
been criminalised and he is still on bail.
The Zanu (PF)
officials were either overwhelmed by the corruption or were also
steeped in it, but Biti has now proposed putting an end to it, with
potential to bring billions of dollars a year into the government's
coffers which should translate to accelerated development.
He said communities
had not been able to see anything developmental out of the resources
extracted from their habitats, and a new "business unusual"
approach was required, with more openness and transparency over
the exploitation of the country's natural resource endowments.
There was need
for the crafting of an Exploration Registration and Extraction Mining
Policy, creating a database and a Register of all known minerals
in Zimbabwe and codified in amendments to the Mining Act.
He also proposed
a "use your claim or lose it" policy putting an end
to the hoarding of claims and continuous renewal of claims which
are not being mined, and a sectoral approach to begin looking at
all the available avenues of adding value to the country's mineral
production, another issue which successive Zanu (PF) mines ministers
have talked about at conferences, but which never took off.
legal structure codified in Zimbabwe's Mining law that the State
can only look to corporate tax and royalties from the mining sector
is unsustainable and should be revisited, said Biti.
And, as minerals
were finite national resources, he also proposed developing a formula
for putting away proceeds for future generations to benefit from
- by setting up an Inter-Generational Fund to deposit some proceeds
from the mining sector.
But Biti saved
his thunder for the diamonds on which he said the rule of law and
constitutionalism must be respected; that Zimbabwe must commit to
the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS); and the Government's
returns on its shareholding in the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation
(ZMDC)'s operations (dividends from its joint ventures in
Marange) should be transferred immediately to the Treasury following
any diamond sales.
He also said
there was broad consensus in Government that there should be a new
Diamond Act that requires that all alluvial diamond mining be conducted
by and through the State.
will be in recognition that it will not be "business as usual"
at Marange and that the State will not allow issuance of multiple
mining licences that facilitate proliferation of small diamond mining
Diamond Act will also deal with the issue of compensation and relocation
of displaced communities in Marange, including provision of the
necessary social infrastructure.
this Act will provide for the establishment of a Diamond Fund, which
will be part of the overall National Mining Fund."
Congress of Trade Unions chairman Lovemore Matombo has previously
said no single individual or company should be allowed to exploit
the diamonds, estimated to be the largest deposits found this century.
diamond saga is to bring peace to the people of Zimbabwe, then let
the mine be nationalised," Matombo said and proposed that
if there is any one entity going to be a private owner, it must
be prepared to pay half of the proceeds to the state.
Botswana model is a 50/51 percent partnership between the state
and the giant De Beers company - with the state bringing in the
mining rights as its equity and De Beers bringing in the technology
and management, together forming a private company, Debswana, which
provides more than 50 percent of the government's revenue as we
proposed back in 2006!
On past diamond
sales of which he has previously said the government has not received
the revenue, Biti said Zimbabwe had sold at least US$30 million
worth of diamonds from Marange, which Treasury and ZIMRA have no
record or knowledge of.
It is important
that the revenue be accounted for transparently in terms of the
law to avoid the current opaqueness and suspicions over the quality
and actual value of resources being generated from the current diamond
mining operations in Marange, he said.
the KPCS Monitor, Abbey Chikane's report, which the Zimbabwean government
is relying on to claim that it diamonds are clean, Chikane give
the following details of the sales:
In the short
to medium term, the "revival and regeneration" can be
underpinned by income generated from the extractive industries,
said Biti, adding that, up to now the government's approach has
been lackadaisical and indifferent.
if we see through the framework advocated in this Review, we will
be somewhere towards attaining the Developmental State called for
by the media and non-governmental organisations to bring attention
to these issues, which have now been acknowledged by the Finance
Minister, have been denounced by Zanu (PF) as determined efforts
to "personalize, criminalize and tribalize the mining of diamonds
A gallant activist
who brought these issues to the fore, Farai Maguwu, has been criminalised
and ill- treated in custody over unnecessary charges of passing
on false information, just because Zanu (PF) operators in the diamond
fields were being exposed. He is still on bail.
- his committee with constitution oversight powers on the mining
sector was denied permission to visit Chiadzwa
Zanu (PF) spokesman,
Rugare Gumbo issued a statement to the Zimbabwean Reporter in which
he said the role of the Minister of Mines and Mining Development
Obert Mpofu's laudable efforts to represent Zimbabwe's strategic
and economic interests in diamonds had been portrayed in a most
thinking person would know that a Cabinet Minister represents the
national interest within terms of reference provided by Cabinet.
Even Cabinet deliberations on Chiadzwa diamonds have been consistently
misrepresented in an effort to sustain this hopeless and disgraceful
vilification of a patriotic son of the soil..." he said of
This is despite
that Mpofu has been responsible for barring a Parliamentary Committee
which has constitutional oversight on mining from investigating
what is going on at Chiadzwa and how claims were allocated and re-allocated,
and are continuing to be mined in contravention of a High Court
He also said
Zanu (PF) considers the Chiadzwa diamonds as a strategic national
asset and "one of the achievements of our national land reclamation
programme" (sic). "As a Party we also reject the disgraceful
efforts to shift goal posts in the case of Zimbabwe alone when it
comes to the licencing and marketing of its diamonds.
the capacity of this country to provide security and management
skills is known all over the world. Murowa and River Ranch diamond
mines have already been licenced, while Chiadzwa diamonds and others
not in the hands of Anglo-Saxon companies are being denied a licence
as they are labeled blood diamonds.
the same country be so good at providing security and good management
in one region and fail completely to do the same in another corner?
efforts are also being made to redefine the meaning of blood diamonds
in order to criminalize only those Zimbabwean diamonds which are
not in Anglo-Saxon hands.
for the first time in the history of the KPC, the view of sponsored
conference observers such as Global Witness and Partnership Africa-Canada
have been elevated to a level above those of substantive market
players," said Gumbo.
In truth however
Mpofu had no policy and was feigning a lack of capacity to rationalise
the diamond production. His statement to Parliament revealed his
lack of capacity when he said that it was impossible to find a clean
diamond dealer to partner with.
In reality he
was trying to hide the true nature of his relationship with the
mining companies, the quantity of the diamonds being mined, and
the extent of diamonds deposits from the public gaze in a effort
to confine it to the two companies that he had illegally appointed.
to reduce the issue to one of capacity to provide security, yet
the issues are wider, including the need to ensure that the country's
people as a whole benefit from such a valuable resource, in such
abundance and needing to be nurtured sustainably.
was also factually inaccurate as Global Witness and Partnership
Africa-Canada are not sponsored conference observers of the Kimberly
Process, but integral members forming the ngo contingent of KP which
looks after the rights that the his so called "substantive
players" tend to ignore when they are chasing after profits.
We applaud Honorable
Biti's stance on the mining of diamonds and we pray that he does
not tire in implementing this obviously onerous and honourable programme
that he has set for himself, and which should result in great benefits
to the present and future generations of Zimbabweans.
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