Zimbabwe’s planned Marange diamond mines merger hits legal hurdles

Zimbabwe’s planned Marange diamond mines merger hits legal hurdles

Zimbabwean officials have confirmed it is planning to consolidate the diamond mining companies currently operating in Marange from six down to two or possibly one, but warned it will take longer than anticipated due to legal challenges related to how merging the firms without violating their original, respective contracts.

In an interview with state-run The Herald last week, the deputy minister of mines and mining development Fred Moyo said the government recognizes those firms have running legal contracts, which should be respected.

"Mines are operating at the moment under legal contracts, so if we are going to compress them we must do it legally, respecting investment, respecting our laws, without creating different views of how we do things," Moyo was quoted as saying.

The planned consolidation aims to rescue the industry in the country, one of the world’s top diamond-producing nations, as miners operating at Marange and Chiadzwa fields have warned it has become economically unviable for them to dig any deeper for the precious stones.

It is also expected to curb leakage in diamond revenue and enhance transparency in the sector.

Alluvial diamonds —those easily extractable through open cast mining— are said to be finished and existing miners argue they have neither the expertise nor the resources to search for new deposits underground.

Images: Zimbabwe's diamonds miners, screenshot from VOAvideo.