US Sanctions Zimbabwe President for Diamond Smuggling

The US has sanctioned Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa for corruption in connection with gold and diamond smuggling, as well as human-rights abuses.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) accused Mnangagwa of “providing a protective shield” to gold- and diamond-smuggling networks that operate in Zimbabwe, it said last week. He is also accused of directing Zimbabwean officials to “facilitate the sale of gold and diamonds in illicit markets” and taking “bribes in exchange for his services.”

The US has also restricted Mnangagwa for being a leader or official of entity, including any government entity, that has “engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, serious human-rights abuses,” OFAC explained.

“The Zimbabwe president is a foreign person who is a current or former government official, or a person acting for or on behalf of such an official, who is responsible for or complicit in, or has directly or indirectly engaged in, corruption, including the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources, or bribery,” OFAC stated.

OFAC issued the new sanctions after US President Joe Biden signed an executive order that terminated Zimbabwe’s national emergency and revoked sanctions on the entire country, so as not to target its citizens.

“The US remains deeply concerned about democratic backsliding, human-rights abuses, and government corruption in Zimbabwe,” said Wally Adeyemo, deputy secretary of the treasury. “The changes we are making today are intended to make clear what has always been true: Our sanctions are not intended to target the people of Zimbabwe. Today we are refocusing our sanctions on clear and specific targets.”

Source: Rapaport

Six Die in Diamond Mine Plane Crash

Indian mining billionaire Harpal Randhawa, his son, and four others died when their plane crashed en route to the Murowa diamond mine, in Zimbabwe.

The Cessna 206 aircraft belonged to Randhawa’s RZM Murowa, a company that part-owns and operates the mine. It also produces gold and coal and refines nickel and copper.

Randhawa and his 22-year-old son Amer set off from Harare on Friday morning (29 September). Their plane came down in the southwestern part of the country, reportedly due a technical fault.

Zimbabwe police said the crash happened between 7.30 am and 8am, and confirmed the deaths of all six people on board.

“The Murowa Diamond Company (RioZim)-owned white and red Zcam aircraft had left Harare for the mine at 6 am and crashed about 6 km from Mashava,” it said.

Planes are often used as a secure method of transporting diamonds. In February a light aircraft transporting diamonds from Murowa came down in a field, also after experiencing technical problems.

The pilot suffered head injuries and was said to be in a critical condition. Four passengers were in a stable condition.

Source: IDEX

Zimbabwe Diamond Sector to Grow to $1 Billion by 2024

Zimbabwe Diamond mine

Winston Chitando, Zimbabwe’s mines and mining development minister, said in an interview with the Sunday Mail newspaper quoted by IDEX Online that the country’s diamond sector will grow to $1 billion by the end of 2023.

Chitando said that Murowa Diamonds and the ZCDC (Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company) “were expanding their operations and would help bring total output to 7 million carats, up from 2 million in 2018.”

Chitando said: “Other countries produce quite a lot, but their production is mature . . . whereas Zimbabwe has a fairly rapidly growing industry. It is probably experiencing the biggest growth in the diamond industry in the world.”

In another report in Rough & Polished, Zimbabwe’s Finance minister Mthuli Ncube is quoted as saying that the mining sector is expected to grow by 10% this year, and that the government had issued 20 exploration prospecting orders (EPOs) to several companies this year. He also said that the mining sector “is expected to grow by 10.4% in 2023.”

Source: israelidiamond

Zimbabwe Mine Running out of Diamonds

Murowa mine Zimbabwe

The Murowa mine, in Zimbabwe, reported a 15 per cent drop in its diamond production for 2020 as known deposits begin to run dry.

Owners RioZim said it was exploring sites near the three kimberlites pipes currently being worked in the southern central Midlands Province.

Rough output in the year ending 31 December 2020 from the RioZim associate RZM Murowa Private Limited was 579,000 carats, down from 685,000 carats the previous year.

RioZim chairman Saleem Rashid Beebeejaun said the main reason for the drop in yields was that the mine had been processing low-grade resources from its K2 pipe. High-grade resources at K1 have become depleted.

But firm gold prices helped the minerals and mining parent company RioZim bounce back with a $454m profit in 2020, after a $584m loss in 2020.

Source: John Jeffay IDEX

Who wins and who loses in the rush for diamonds?

Zimbabwe Diamond Production

The list of hardships and suffering linked to Zimbabwe’s diamond mines is growing longer by the day.

Since diamonds were discovered in the Marange fields in 2001, non-governmental organisations have been looking into abuse and dodgy dealings:

Human rights violations;
Opaque business deals;
Unfair treatment of residents;
Diamond smuggling.

The Marange diamond fields are in Chiadzwa, Mutare District, in eastern Zimbabwe. Thousands of people have been displaced to make way for mining operations.

Chinese mining companies and the Harare government made big promises to the displaced people, and their hopes are fading, with people saying they were duped to move out of their ancestral lands.

When Zimbabwean villagers from Chiadzwa were relocated to Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda) Transau, a state-owned farm in Odzi, about 40km from Mutare, to pave way for diamond mining, they were promised better life by both the government and several Chinese mining companies.

The government relocated more than 1 200 villagers from Chiadzwa to Arda Transau in 2009 after forcibly removing, in a bloody crackdown, more than 20 000 small-scale miners who had invaded the once-rich diamond fields in 2006.

Promises, promises

Arable lands, a US$5 000 compensation fee, grazing lands, schools and jobs are some of what the relocated residents were promised.

Chinese mining companies that were among the seven companies given mining rights include Jinan and Anjin — a company jointly owned by Chinese company Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company Limited and Matt Bronze, a company owned by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

When the government under Zimbabwe’s long-time ruler, the late Robert Mugabe, took over the diamond fields through the newly formed Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) in 2016, some of the relocated villagers were hopeful that the move would improve their livelihoods.

Anjin was against Mugabe’s move and took his government to court.

In 2019, Anjin joined mining companies ZCDC in Chiadzwa after it was given back its mining license following pressure from Beijing on President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who came to power after Mugabe was toppled through a military coup in November 2017.

Hopes fading away

Many relocated residents say they got an unfair deal. They are living in dilapidated houses while their children are learning in makeshift classes. This is no clean water and few jobs.

“When I relocated to this area in 2010, this house was already cracking,” Jason Musiyanga (40), a father of three, said.

Musiyanga, whose name has been changed to protect his identity for fear of reprisal, says no one is coming to his rescue.

“I am living in fear. One day, this four-roomed house might just fall while I am asleep with my family,” he said.

Not enough to go around

Nomore Mamombe 51 said his one-hectare piece of land was not enough to accommodate his family of seven children with four of them married.

“Back in Chiadzwa, I had a 16-hectare piece of land which was enough for my children to build their own houses when they get married. Now we are sharing this four-roomed house,”  Mamombe said.

“It is against my Shona culture for me to share the same house with my daughters-in-law.”

Looking for answers

Neither the government nor the companies are claiming responsibility for the hardships of the residents of Arda Transau.

Each group of villagers was relocated by each of the seven companies that had been granted mining licenses by the government.

Musiyanga was relocated by Anjin, while Mamombe was relocated by Jinan.

Mines minister Winston Chitando did not respond to questions sent to him by The Africa Report.

Anjin secretary Richard Mahoya, in a telephone interview, requested the questions to be sent to him via email.

They were sent, and he acknowledged receipt, but he had not yet responded by the time of publishing.

No property security

“The Chinese built nearly 1 000 houses for over 1 200 households,” according to the Arda Transau Relocation Development Trust (ATRDT).

Tawanda Mufute, the ATRDT secretary, said they did not have title deeds to their properties.

“We have made strides for us to get title deeds but our efforts were fruitless. There are fears that if another mineral like gold is found where we are now, we might be relocated again. We do not have any property security,” he said.

Mufute added that the population had since grown and villagers were now competing for the few available resources.

“Our population is now more than 9 000,” he said.

A single school

The relocated villagers are sharing one school which was constructed by Anjin.

“Our primary school has a population of more than 1 200 pupils. This is against four blocks that were built by Anjin. Parents have also built another block, but they are inadequate. Some pupils are learning in makeshifts classes,” Mufute said.

He added that the relocated villagers were yet to be compensated by the Chinese companies.

“In terms of compensation, the families are yet to receive the US$5 000 compensation fee which they were promised. They were only given US$1 000 as a disturbance allowance when they were relocated,” Mufute said.

No clear lines of responsibility

Mufute said it was not clearly outlined who should be responsible for these relocated Chiadzwa villagers between the government and Anjin.

“It is all about blame games. The government is saying it is the Chinese companies yet the Chinese companies are saying they are waiting to hear from the government,” said Mufute.

Pleasing investors at the expense of the indigenous people’

Simiso Mlevu, spokesperson for Centre for Natural Resource Governance, said it was the responsibility of government to take care of the socio-economic needs of the people.

“The predicament of the people of Arda Transau simply shows that the government does not have people-centric policies,” she said.

“Our policies are aimed at pleasing the investors at the expense of indigenous people. Indigenous communities need to enjoy economic, cultural and social security in their own country.”

Shamiso Mtisi, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association’s deputy director, said it was important for government to comply with constitutional provisions related to evictions of communities.

“Government and companies must provide people with adequate information on displacement implementation plans including associated costs, compensation levels, where people will go, what they will get including time frames,” he explains.

Source: The Africa Report

Alrosa, ZCDC JV starts prospecting for diamonds in Zimbabwe

Alrosa mining

Alrosa Zimbabwe (Alrosa Zim), a joint venture (JV) between Russian diamond miner Alrosa and Zimbabwe State-owned miner Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), has started prospecting and preliminary exploration works for primary diamond deposits.

After getting special grants from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Alrosa Zim had the environmental-impact assessment (EIA) approved by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), and is set to begin prospecting and exploration in the Masvingo, Matebeleland South and Matebeleland North provinces of Zimbabwe.

In July, Alrosa Zim’s geologists started geochemical sampling, trenching and pitting in Malipati zone, with ground geophysical surveys to follow.

The same prospecting work, including airborne geophysical surveys, is set to be conducted in the Maitengwe area towards the end of year.

Bulk sampling and drilling are set to begin in 2021.

“Following the signing of a JV agreement with ZCDC to develop diamond deposits in Zimbabwe in December 2019, we are progressing well towards the initiation of the full-scale prospecting works this year.

“Being a member of Responsible Jewellery Council, the World Diamond Council and the Natural Diamond Council, Alrosa complies in full with all industry commitments on responsible business practices and its own corporate standards.

“Alrosa is committed to follow these principles strictly while working in Zimbabwe, minimising adverse environmental impact in all areas of activities and using mineral resources comprehensively and rationally,” says Alrosa deputy CEO Vladimir Marchenko.

Alrosa expects to investment $12-million in Zimbabwe from 2020 to 2022.

Alrosa holds 70% of Alrosa Zimbabwe, and ZCDC the balance. The JV focuses on prospecting, exploration and mining of primary diamond deposits in Zimbabwe. 

Source: miningweekly

Zimbabwe’s ZCDC Sets Sight On Doubling Diamond Production

Zimbabwe Diamond Production

The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company (ZCDC) failed to meet its 2019 target of 3 million carats, but officials are buoyant fortunes will turn around as the firm has consolidated its investments in exploration, mining and processing to improve output this year.

Speaking durng a media tour of Chiadzwa diamond fields on Friday last week, Acting ZCDC Chief Executive Officer Roberto DePreto said they are aiming to double the 1.6 million carats produced last year through joint venture agreements, increased exploration as well as mitigating viability challenges, linked to power shortages and access to foreign currency.

“Since the Diamond Policy was issued we are now looking for joint venture partners, those joint venture partners get allocated a particular concession and we then subdivide the (overall) 626 special grant into specific special grants for those venture companies.

“Last year we produced 1.6 million carats and this year we are targeting to double that through our investments in new plant machinery and our exploration capabilities,” said DePreto.

Consuming an average of 5 megawatts and at 25 000 of diesel daily, ZCDC has also invested in new plant machinery from Belarus which needs foreign currency for repair and maintenance, with at least seventy percent of consumables and spares imported.

Officials said such overheads have hampered production targets, costing in total a minimum of 8 million tons of unprocessed diamond ore from the down time caused by the listed operation constrains.

Mine manager, Innocent Guvakuva said focus will be placed on optimizing processing capacity, already on a positive trajectory following acquisition of new plant machinery, as well as improving power supply to reduce production downtime.

“Last year there were issues to do with power, this year there has been a bit of improvement but last year it was worse, issues to do with fuel and general forex availability because 70 percent of all consumables and spares we import.

“So, if your foreign currency access scenario is not stable you are bound to suffer, but this year things have started on a better note… one of the biggest challenges in Zimbabwe is that we are a cash economy.

“We lost a lot last year in terms of production down time we lost, probably in terms of total material mined we are looking at about 8 million tones that we could have moved last year, which is very big,” said Guvakuva.

He added, “We have installed a 450 ton per hour plant it’s got phases now we are installing phase three where carat production is expected to go up, our focus now in terms of mining we are stable but it’s the liberation and optimization of the plant that we will work on.”

Guvakuva said focus will also be placed on greenfield and ground field, together with exploration contractors under a ‘hybrid exploration model’ in the seven approved special grants in regions considered diamondiferous.

“We are increasing our exploration through a hybrid model in the sense that we have our own exploration drill rigs, commissioned them in 2018, they are called diamond drill rigs that can drill up to 250 metres, we have what we call a Reverse Circulation Rigs (RCO).

“We have also engaged contractors which makes it the hybrid model, they have done work right now the contract has ended, but we are doing a lot of exploration we have a lot of ground field and greenfield projects all over the place.

“ZCDC we have seven approved special grants, in this whole area which is about 26 to 30 kilometers its assumed to be diamondiferous, but the economics of it is what we do through exploration. To say we will be here for two or three years I will be lying (is an under estimation) but we will be here for a very long time,” said Guvakuva.

Source: allafrica

Zimbabwe to Take Smaller Cut of Diamond Sales

A Rough Diamond from Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe plans to reduce the percentage of sales diamond miners must pay to the state, aiming to encourage companies to invest in the Marange fields.

The government proposed a new royalty rate of 10% in the annual budget last week. Diamond producers currently pay 15% of gross revenues, but their overall costs have escalated as they shift toward hard-rock — or “conglomerate” — mining, which is lucrative but expensive.

The change could benefit companies such as Russia’s Alrosa, which is exploring for rough in the country, as well as Botswana Diamonds and Vast Resources, which operate a joint venture at the Marange fields.

“The royalty rate of 15% on diamonds was set during the period when mining was predominantly alluvial, and extraction cost was relatively low,” Mthuli Ncube, minister of finance and economic development, explained in his budget statement. “However, diamond miners are [now] exploiting conglomerate deposits, hence the cost of extraction has significantly increased.”

Last year, the state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company installed a crushing plant at Marange to help it process the harder rock. The nation plans to increase its annual production to 11 million carats by 2023, from 3.2 million carats in 2018, Reuters reported last month.

The state intends to introduce the lower royalty rate on January 1 with the goal of attracting investment in exploration and extraction. The country has also made progress in its plans to repeal an “indigenization” law limiting foreign ownership of diamond and platinum mines, Ncube continued.


Gold, diamonds from 2 African nations caught in U.S. forced-labor probe

U.S. forced-labor probe

Products from Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of Congo are among those from five nations to be seized by the United States at its borders because they are believed linked to forced-labor violations.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement Tuesday it initiated its investigation following complaints from the public and other sources. The allegations led to the issue of a Withhold Release Order for the five products, which include gold from artisanal small mines in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and diamonds from the Marange Diamond Fields in Zimbabwe. The Marange site has a long history of alleged human rights abuses, from a 2008 massacre of civilians to 2018, when new reports of forced labor and other rights violations emerged.

“A major part of CBP’s mission is facilitating legitimate trade and travel,” said Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan. “CBP’s issuing of these five withhold release orders shows that if we suspect a product is made using forced labor, we’ll take that product off U.S. shelves.”

Because it is illegal to import goods linked to forced labor into the U.S., the CBP has the authority to order their detention but also their release. “Importers have the opportunity to either re-export the detained shipments at any time or to submit information to CBP demonstrating that the goods are not in violation,” the agency said.

Also listed were specific garments from China, rubber gloves from Malaysia and bone-black char from Brazil.

Source: africatimes

Zimbabwe intends to sell another 500,000 carats of diamonds before end of 2019

Zimbabwe Rough Diamonds

Zimbabwe says it intends to auction between 400,000 and 500,000 carats of diamonds before the end of 2019.

This follows another auction two weeks ago, the third in 2019, in which the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) sold 316,000 carats, whose value is yet to be established as figures are still being reconciled.

Prior to the last sale, Zimbabwe had in June invited seven international buyers to participate in a private sale of nearly two million carats.

The Herald newspaper reported Wednesday that MMCZ general manager Tongai Muzenda had said that the corporation expected better returns in the short-term on account of the level of pricing systems that would prevail in the market.

“We are looking forward to conducting another diamond auction where we are targeting to sell between 400,000 and 500,000 carats by the end of November,” he said.

Zimbabwe expects to produce 4.1 million carats of diamonds this year, up from 2.8 million carats last year. At the peak of production in 2012, output was 12 million carats.

Source: xinhuanet