By Business Reporter
HARARE (Mining Index) – THE much awaited National Diamond Policy is set to be pronounced within the next fortnight amid high expectations from industry to improve governance of diamond mining to create a level playing field in the sector.
The announcement of this legislative framework which was initially pencilled for June 2018, before being shifted to August 2018, is now expected to be proclaimed before end of November this year.
Speaking to Zimbabwean media while attending the Kimberley Process fight against conflict diamonds in Brussels, Belgium, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said the Diamond Policy will be unveiled before end of November. “The Diamond Policy will be unveiled in two weeks’ time.”
The current legislation on diamond mining hinders both domestic and foreign investor participation, leaving only two companies with diamond mining rights in Zimbabwe; state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) and Murowa Diamonds, owned and operated by RioZim.
In March this year, government gazetted mining reforms under the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, excluding diamonds and platinum which remained on a 51-49 percent ownership for local-foreign ownership respectively.
Mining Index conducted a survey on what industry expects from the new National Diamond Policy. Issues below are some of the expectations the new framework is expected to address.
- Open the diamond mining sector to new investment across the value chain from exploration, cutting, polishing, marketing and corporate social responsibility.
- Establishment of a processing plant for value addition and beneficiation of minerals before exportation, curbing exportation of raw mineral resources.
- Set up a Diamond Vault for storage of diamonds as either a store of value or collateral when borrowing. The diamond vault centre can also be used to generate revenue through levies charged for short and long term storage of precious gems and other valuable assets.
- Communities with mineral resources must benefit from their local resource. A legal requirement for companies to perform social responsibilities in areas where they operate must be imposed.
- Communities forced to relocate to pave way for mineral exploitation must be adequately compensated.
- Transparency and accountability structures must be put in place to ensure proper collection and use of diamond revenues.
- Either regularise or unbundle the state-run Zimbabwe Consolidated Mining Company (ZCDC).
- Allow exploration of new diamond deposits that have been reported, but remain unutilised, in respect of diamond reserves reported to have been identified in Chivi.
- Nationalisation of the diamond sector, as in the case of gold, to allow more players (small scale diamond miners) to participate.
- Establish a diamond centre affiliated to the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB).
- Ownership and shareholding of companies bearing diamond mining rights, replacing the 51-49 percent local-foreign shareholding requirement that regulates diamond and platinum. ENDS//