Four companies — Mbada, Marange Resources, Anjin and Diamond Mining Corporation (DMC) — are mining in the resource-rich Marange diamond fields.
Farai Maguwu, director of Centre for Research and Development, a think-tank based in Mutare, told Standardbusiness on Thursday there was need for a prudent process in identifying investors for Marange looking at both its technological and financial muscles.
“It’s one thing that needs to be very clear as to who owns these companies, the shareholding structures, it has to be more transparent because some of these companies that are said to be shareholders are little known,” Maguwu said.
“There is need for greater transparency in terms of disclosure of information.”
In his update to journalists on Friday, Shamiso Mtisi from the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association said there should be transparency in the allocation of mining rights not only in Marange but across the whole mining sector in Zimbabwe.
National Association of Non-Governmental Organisation chief executive officer, Cephas Zinhumwe said his team was unhappy with the set up at DMC where locals are absent in critical areas of the mining operations.
“From the beginning of the production chain to the end, there were the Arabs and the Lebanese. These dictate everything. Our concern is that we do not know the level of transparency and even the end product,” Zinhumwe said.
“To what extent is the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) going to say this is the quantity of diamonds that has come from the partnership with DMC?”
He said when his team pointed out the problem, it was told that ZMDC was yet to appoint its people in management.
This, Zinhumwe said, shows negligence and a deliberate attempt to hoodwink the people of Zimbabwe in terms of what revenue must come out of partnerships in DMC.
“How do we know what they (DMC) are doing is within the laws of the country?”
The call for transparency by civil society organisations comes weeks after an international pressure group, Global Witness, raised similar concerns and analysts contend this is the missing link in the exploitation of the Marange diamonds.
In a report, Diamonds: A good deal for Zimbabwe? Global Witness said Zimbabweans have the right to know how the diamonds are being exploited.
“The country’s citizens have a right to know how these revenues are managed. There is a real risk of these revenues being used to finance violence during future elections,” the group said.
Marange diamonds have been dogged by controversy ever since government moved in to drive off illegal panners in a manner civil society say was heavy handed. There have been allegations by civil society of human rights violations, a charge dismissed by the government.
Revenue from Marange diamonds is billed to inject new life into the economy in the absence of lines of credit from bilateral and multilateral financial institutions.
Last year, the fiscus received US$122 million in diamond receipts. This year, diamond revenue will contribute US$600 million to the total budget, according to estimates from treasury.
‘Diamond marketing needs all stakeholders’
Maguwu said the marketing of diamonds should involve all stakeholders to ensure that the country maximises in its revenue collection from diamonds.
He said all the contracts signed between government and mining houses should be made public.
“It must be made mandatory that all diamond companies declare their contracts, which will allow the civil society to check whether they are fulfilling their side of the bargain,” Maguwu said.
Maguwu was part of the Kimberly Process Civil Society Coalition representatives that visited Marange diamond fields last week on a familiarisation tour.