Diamond mining firm DTZ-OZGEO says it was forced to sign over its claims when government consolidated diamond mining in the Chiadzwa fields two years ago but says it is willing to come back and invest in the country.
Zimbabwe ordered all diamond miners in Marange to cease operations on February 22, 2016 after they declined proposals to nationalise the industry and formed the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC).
The government said the miners’ licenses had expired and accused them of failing to account for revenue from their operations.
Other miners who were shut down include Anjin Investments, Diamond Mining Company, Jinan, Kusena, Marange Resources and Mbada Diamonds.
But DTZ-OZGEO, a joint venture between Econendra of Russia and Development Trust of Zimbabwe, told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy that its licence was still valid for another four months to June of that year.
Managing director Victor Kusyla says a few minutes after then Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa announced that government had taken over diamond mining operations, at least 80 armed police appeared at the mine and ordered workers off the premises.
“Minister of Mines, Walter Chidhakwa, is the one who announced the closure of mines. In a few minutes after he had done that I phoned my manager to brief him about what was going on and he told me that already at the mine there were about 80 armed policemen who told everyone to evacuate the mine leaving all their belongings. There was no handover takeover because we were ordered off the premises abruptly while we were still working. Many diamonds were still being sorted,” Kusyla told the committee through an interpreter.
“We pretty much left everything as it were, machinery, diesel to power our generators, diamonds. After the closure of the mining operations we brought our documents to the minister and the permanent secretary to show them that the last licence of diamond operations had not expired contrary to the allegation.”
The company was then forced to sign off their shareholding to government, he added., adding that the company is keen to return to its claims under the new government.
“We are prepared to back to mining because that is why we invested. The taking over of our mining operations was in breach of the security of tenure,” said Kusyla.
“Before the new (political dispensation) we had lost hope of recovering our (business.) We are still to see but we have hope for a better environment for investment.” – The Source