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ZMDC Defies Marange Mining ban

ZIMBABWE Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) is going ahead with mining at its Marange Diamond Mine in direct contempt of a High Court order, business digest can reveal.

Documents to hand show that ZMDC management ignored the court ruling barring the company from mining in the area after African Consolidated Resources (ACR) sought a court order in an ownership dispute over the diamond fields in Zimbabwe’s eastern highlands.
The documents show that after the High Court ruling on September 29 it was business as usual at ZMDC. Management has continued to mine in the area to date.
ZMDC produces an average 1 300 carats of diamonds a day, according to documents.
This follows the ruling by the High Court confirming the ACR”s claims registered in its name on the Marange diamond fields, a development which would have created problems after ZMDC occupied the area.
Instead, ACR is opting to partner government in the mining project but government is not keen to have the group aboard.
ACR CEO Andrew Cranswick announced: “As soon as the joint venture achieves physical possession of the claims its immediate priority will be the establishment of full security as soon as is practicable.  Thereafter the company hopes to make further announcements in respect of its intentions to establish a mutually beneficial operation as the situation develops.”
ACR acquired the  claims  in early  2006  but was  evicted  in October 2006 forcing the company to  institute legal action  in the High  Court.
There are problems pertaining to the country’s diamond mining following the events which unfolded at the Chiyadzwa diamond field since 2006.
This has led to a continued focus on the country’s diamond mining which is still in its infancy and there are threats that the country would be suspended from the Kimberley Process.
ACR said in the last three years, they have attempted to work with all elements of the Zimbabwe government to agree on a joint venture.
In its annual report published in July this year, ACR noted that the issue of the Marange diamond fields had remained topical in the world news.
Operations on the diamond fields in Manicaland led to a recent visit by the Kimberley Process review   team.   
“This   review   has   led   to dissatisfaction with the status quo and the company has stressed that tenure needs to be resolved in order to enable formal mining so that Kimberley Process compliance can be achieved. 
“The company is pleased to note the security of tenure evidenced by the High Court judgment, and hopes that the security and transparency of operations that the joint venture intends to put in place will be recognised by the Kimberley Process,” added ACR.

 

Chris Muronzi

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