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Chinese resurface on Anjin diamond claims

On 20 April 2018, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) accompanied ambassadors from European Union countries during their field visit to the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) mining operations in Marange in the east of the country.

One interesting observation was the fresh fence erected on Anjin’s concession, an air strip clearance and the presence of some Chinese on the ground.

The personnel are clearly not ZCDC staff. This raises several questions: is Anjin back? If so, in what disguise? Did they get a new license?

Anjin is a diamond mining partnership between Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company Ltd of China (AFECC) and Matt Bronze, an investment vehicle controlled by Zimbabwe’s military.

The military, which anchored the removal from office of former president Robert Mugabe In November last year, is among the security forces that ventured into diamond mining in the controversial Marange fields.

State security agency Central Intelligence Organisation held 50 percent shareholding at Kusena Mine, with the other 50 percent held by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), according to former director Happyton Bonyongwe’s disclosure in Parliament recently.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police held 20 percent shareholding in Gye Nyame, another mine in the area.

The mines, along with several other ventures, were forced off the mines after government cancelled the licenses of foreign companies mining the seven concessions that make up the diamond fields.

Last week, ZCDC chief executive Moris Mpofu insisted in a response to industry newswire Papaport News that there are no other companies operating in Marange.

But the unaccounted presence of the Chinese at the Anjin operations is worrisome and the government owes the nation full disclosure.

A colleague pointed out that the involvement of the army in business is not unusual and that this was the norm in several countries. What matters is a strong dosage of transparency and accountability which is critical to deliver benefits to citizens and not to a few powerful individuals.

To win public trust and confidence, government must move with speed to align mining legislation with Section 315 (2) (c) of the Constitution to deliver transparency and accountability in the negotiation of mining contracts as well as performance monitoring of the mining contracts.

In addition, government must urgently embrace the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) to enable the public to track various taxes paid to government institutions by mining companies.

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