WASHINGTON D.C. —
Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa on Monday ordered all diamond mining companies to cease operations with immediate effect after the companies failed to renew their licences.
According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, the minister told a press conference held in Harare that the affected mines, mainly those operating from Chiadzwa in the Marange diamond fields in Manicaland, that he has notified all the companies about this move.
The newspaper further reported that Chidhakwa also announced that the government-controlled Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Corporation now holds all diamond claims.
Most diamond mining companies ignored a government call to form a consolidated company that would give the state a 50% shareholding.
Studio 7 failed to reach the affected companies for a comment.
Farai Maguwu, director of Centre for Natural Resource Governance, said though the government’s move was a little too late, it is still welcome.
“The government must set up a commission of inquiry. We need to know who did what with the diamonds,” said Maguwu.
He added that it was folly for the government to give licences to shelf companies.
“People should be arrested for exploiting our resources.”