Zimbabwe’s new state-owned diamond miner has produced 513,000 carats since March when it started operations after the government ordered all mining companies to halt work in the Marange fields, its acting CEO said on Monday.
The government on Feb 22 evicted all diamond mining firms in the Marange fields in eastern Zimbabwe saying their licences had expired and after they declined to merge under the state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC).
Ridge Nyashanu, ZCDC acting chief executive, told a parliamentary committee that the company was mining from two concessions and exploring another two previously owned by firms ejected from Marange. The firms did not oppose their eviction.
However, ZCDC is unable to mine from bigger concessions owned by Mbada Diamonds, the largest producer before the February evictions as well as two Chinese-run companies, Anjin and Jinan, which are all challenging their expulsion in court, Nyashanu said.
The court action has reduced diamond mining in a country desperate for dollar inflows at a time the state has been forced to delay June salaries for its workers.
Diamond production figures are not readily available from the ministry of mines but Zimbabwe was the eighth largest diamond producer in the world with 4.7 million carats in 2014, according to industry group Kimberly Process.