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LocalNews

Chinese diamond operations in Chingwizi worrisome

By Business Reporter – Thursday 21 May 2020

FEATURE (Mining Index) – FOR over a year, scores of Chinese miners have been camped in Chingwizi purportedly engaging in diamond mining.

Heavy duty machinery such as tippers and bulldozers has been spotted in the area, working day and night.

“There are a lot of Chinese people in Chingwizi. We hear they are mining diamonds there. They have been there for a while now, for over a year. If you go close, you will notice bulldozers and tippers they are using to extract the diamond,” said one local resident.

Chingwizi is located in Zimbabwe’s Lowveld area, near Triangle.

The diamond distribution map of Zimbabwe reveal the Nyashanu kimberlitic pipes in Manicaland and Mbizi pipes in Triangle fall under Chinese investors.

The Beitbridge diamond kimberlite pipes have been shared between the Russia and China.

With so much mining activity being observed by locals, one wonders whether diamond revenue from Chinese operations is being, or has been effectively accounted for, from the time they started diamond mining in the area.

In May 2016, a local weekly newspaper reported that Anjin Investments exported under shady circumstances more than three million carats of diamonds from Chiadzwa to China’s financial hub, Shanghai.

It is sad to note with so much mining activity and so much diamond reserves, Zimbabwe keep reeling in abject poverty, relying on China for hand-outs. Zimbabwe’s diamond sector should be the cornerstone for Zimbabwe’s recovery efforts and economic boom.

In the case of COVID-19, Zimbabwe has barely tested 10 000 people for the virus in the past two months owing to shortages of test kits.

While no official invitation has been made by the Zimbabwe Consolidate Diamond Company (ZCDC) for companies to apply for diamond partnerships, it raises eyebrows on how secretive Zimbabwe’s diamond sector is in dealing with diamond issues in a transparent manner.

Activities by foreign investors, including mineral output and financial performance must be made public for accountability purposes so that a country and its people know how worth their natural resources are, how much revenue has been generated and what developmental projects have been done or set aside for the benefit of the country using mining revenue.

This publication is reliably informed some interested parties have already submitted applications for diamond partnerships with ZCDC, while others are finalising their applications.

Dumela and Article Field from South Africa have been cited as parties forming joint venture agreements with ZCDC, while a local businessman is finalising paperwork before submission.

Over the years, there has been a surge in the number of Chinese miners coming into Zimbabwe to partake mining of various minerals in Zimbabwe. In other words, the Chinese have taken over Zimbabwe’s mining sector, benefiting at the expense of the locals.

Zimbabwe’s chrome industry is dominated by the Chinese who are buying chrome at a paltry US$12 per tonne before exporting it to China. Chinese investors have also been hording gold claims while local Zimbabwean miners are failing to access mining claims due to corruption in the sector. The Chinese have also invaded the coal industry in Hwange. ENDS// www.miningndex.co.zw

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