Mining Reporter – Monday 15 July 2016
HARARE (Mining Index) – THE return of Anjin to the Chiadzwa diamond fields has been met with shock and anger from experts and the Marange community at large.
Mines and mining development minister, Winston Chitando recently confirmed the return of Anjin during an interview with a local radio station last week. However this was after the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) reported that Anjin had returned to Marange on 1 March, yet government departments in Mutare, the provincial capital of Manicaland, the traditional leaders in Marange and civil society were not informed of the move. Chief Bernard Marange said he is not aware of the return of Anjin, adding that no one notifies him of mining activities taking place in his area.
Anjin, a joint venture between Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group (AFFEC) and Matt Bronze, a subsidiary of Zimbabwe Defense Industries was named by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in February 2018 as having externalized foreign currency. The diamond miner, along with other players operating in the diamond fields were kicked out by former President Robert Mugabe for allegedly participating in the looting of diamonds valued at an estimated $15bln.
The Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Workers Union (ZIDAWU), Cosmas Sunguro bemoaned the bad corporate governance by Anjin Investments saying since its return, the company is giving workers a flat wage of RTGS$300 regardless of one’s qualification. Sunguro said Anjin is also not providing decent accommodation for the workers and as a result, some stay more than 60 kilometers away from the workplace.
Justice Chinhema, Secretary General of Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals workers union said the partnership between the Chinese and the military is scary.
“We do not know if the military is out at the moment but anything associated with the military is frightening even to the workers. An organisation that is a private limited should not include a state apparatus.
“The presence of the military will stifle workers’ rights. The workers will have challenges because the whole workplace will be militarised. Workers cannot freely bargain because they will be afraid of engaging the military,” Chinhema said.
Chiadzwa Community Development Trust member, Gladys Mavhusa said the return of Anjin Investments hurts the community because the company has not been observing the environmental laws of the country.
“We had agreed that whichever company comes back, we have to do environmental impact assessment first. However, with Anjin, that was not done. We went to meet them and demanded to see the Enviromental Impact Assessment (EIA) but they told us that it is kept at ZCDC.
“We requested from ZCDC to see Anjin Investments’ EIA but they are not forth coming. So we now think there is some unholy collusion between ZCDC and Anjin,” she said.
The Marange community is equally concerned with the failure by Anjin to contribute to the Community Share Ownership Scheme.
Government has also licensed Russian diamond giant, Alrosa to extract gems from the diamond fields, with an agreement expected to be signed this week between government and Alrosa.
“Alrosa have already opened an office in Zimbabwe which will be officially opened next week. So we now have two players which were not there at the beginning of the year and the whole objective is to unpack the diamond potential of this country and produce the target of 10 million carats by the year 2023,” said Chitando. ENDS//