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Zimbabwe Revokes Diamond Mining Firm's License

(FILE) -- This Nov. 1, 2006 file photo shows miners digging for diamonds in Marange, eastern Zimbabwe.
Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa is walking the talk as he tries to reform the diamond mining sector following complaints by various government ministries that diamond revenues are not being remitted to Treasury.

The minister recently threatened to move in and reduce the number of players in the rich alluvial diamond fields in Marange.

The first victim is Gye Nyame Investment, whose license has been revoked. The company’s shareholders were the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) which had 50%, the Zimbabwe Republic Police Trust (20%), Essien (24%), and Dantor, a company representing the interests of local shareholders, Itai Munyeza and Blessmore Chanakira had six percent.

Munyeza told VOA Studio 7 the company has stopped operations, adding management will soon meet Chidhakwa to discuss the development.

Another company that has come under the spotlight is the Zimbabwe National Army outfit, Glass Finish Investment. The military-owned company acquired the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC)’s 40% stake in Anjin Investments of China, and has been receiving management fees.

But Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, sources told VOA Studio 7, that they are investigating the company since it has not been remitting taxes.

Human rights groups and the Kimberley Process Certification have for years protested the presence of the security forces in Marange alleging they were not respecting people’s rights.

Chidhakwa has also appointed Dan Muringani to chair the ZMDC in an effort to clean up its activities.

Muringani said he is working with the minister though his brief is to focus on re-organizing the ZMDC.

Economist Washington Mehlomakulu of Resource Exploitation Watch said the minister is right in re-organising the diamond sector.