The Zimbabwean government is raising license fees for firms mining diamonds and other resources to maximize revenues to the state from the sector.
Mines Minister Obert Mpofu said existing and new diamond investors will have to pay a license fee of US$5 million. License fees for platinum, gold, coal and other minerals are under revision, the minister added.
In his 2012 budget, Finance Minister Tendai Biti proposed to boost royalties on gold from 4.5 percent to 7 percent and on platinum from 5 percent to 10 percent.
Mpofu said the new fees will discourage speculation and boost revenues.
“We want to ensure that Zimbabweans will benefit from this country’s abundant natural resources,” Mpofu said.
But economist Godfrey Kanyenze of the Labor and Economic Development Institute of Zimbabwe said higher license fees will stifle mining industry growth.
The Kimberley Process, a diamond industry watchdog organization, recently authorized firms in the eastern Marange diamond field to sell gems into the global marketplace.
Elsewehre, the government is rolling out an indigenization program under which foreign firms must cede a 51 percent stake to local black investors in the name of economic empowerment, though skeptics say political insiders will be the main beneficiaries.