Significant deposits of diamonds have been found outside of Zimbabwe's controversial Marange district in Matabeleland North and Masvingo provinces, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu told the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper.
Mpofu told the newspaper that preliminary studies by the government have pointed to the existence of large deposits in Binga and Tsholotsho, both in Matabeleland North, and parts of Masvingo along the road to South Africa.
He said that the government is setting up a body to speed exploration to determine the extent of deposits and is short-listing candidates to head the proposed entity to be called the Zimbabwe Minerals Explorations Corporation.
If significant deposits are confirmed, Zimbabwe could become a world diamond power, given the rich deposits already identified in Marange district of Manicaland province, where human rights abuses and looting have been alleged.
But economic commentator Rejoice Ngwenya told VOA that based on the experience in Marange, tightly controlled by the military, the discovery of new diamond deposits is not likely to benefit ordinary Zimbabweans.