12/15/2010 by Raul Sapora
We publish courtesy of National Jeweler
Harare, Zimbabwe — The state-controlled newspaper in Zimbabwe reported Thursday that the government there plans to take 100 percent control of all alluvial diamond mines—which would include the controversial Marange area—and at least a 51 percent stake in all other mining projects.
The Herald’s report cited government official Saviour Kasukuwere as saying that Zimbabwe’s cabinet had determined that the country’s natural resources, including diamonds, must benefit Zimbabweans and that 10 percent of gross profit from all mining operations will go to local communities. Zimbabwe government officials plan to meet with the Chinese and South African companies currently working with the government at the Marange diamond fields.
Marange, the site of reported diamond smuggling and human rights violations, has been a source of controversy for the Kimberley Process (KP), the mechanism put in place to stem the flow of conflict diamonds into the diamond trade. Trade in rough from the area remains officially suspended for the time being as members of the KP and the Zimbabwean government continue to negotiate conditions for allowing exports to resume.
According to The Herald, outside of alluvial diamond mining, the proposed law also would affect all other new mining ventures and companies yet to meet the country’s indigenization requirements. Zimbabwe’s Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act dictates that foreign-owned companies operating in the country valued at more than $500,000 sell at least 51 percent shareholding to indigenous black Zimbabweans.
The new law regarding mining will take effect as soon as it is officially published, The Herald reports.