Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Christopher Mushohwe tried to stifle the speculations that Zimbabwe mines are running out of diamonds when he told a group of industrialists “I’m not aware that diamonds are running out but what I can confirm is that our diamonds are still there in vast quantities. Government is restructuring operations in Chiadzwa and soon we will add value for the benefit of our people,” Mushohwe said.
Zimbabwe government is working hard to ensure that diamond industry in the region survives and people dependent on mining benefit through employment and development. Few weeks back Zimbabwe declared an export ban on roughs to add more value in the diamond processing chain before they leave the country. However later on, according to a recent report, Chidhakwa said that considering the existing cutting and polishing ‘beneficiation’ capacity in the country the government has NOT banned the export of rough diamonds.
In a bid to regularize revenue stream from diamond industry, Zimbabwe’s Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidhakwa announced that government would collect revenues at the point of sale rather than wait for dividends till end of year. The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) that holds 50 percent stake in all mining companies would get its share of revenues as they happen, though the model is still being worked out.
With increasing regulations and pressures to create diamond funds for development of local communities the questions remains as to how profitable mining in Zimbabwe would continue to be. Growing pressures from governments, social and environment activists and various regulatory agencies across the world should act as signals for the diamond industry and they should start looking at strategies for a sustainable business future.