Government taking over DTZ-OZGEO claims
MUTARE — Diamond concessions belonging to the Development Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ)-OZGEO will soon be consolidated into the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) — a vehicle controlling all diamond mining claims in the country.
DTZ-OZGEO had been excluded from government’s proposed consolidation of diamond mining companies, over which at least two firms have approached the High Court to challenge the decision.
Anjin, a joint venture with Chinese military interests, has since lost its case, while Mbada Diamonds received temporary relief to secure its properties although it is yet to get a final judgement on the matter.
The Financial Gazette can now report that government now wants DTZ-OZGEO’s diamond interests consolidated into ZCDC and will pay for all assets acquired from the company.
This suggests that DTZ-OZGEO will not become part of the consolidated unit.
DTZ-OZGEO signed a memorandum of understanding with government after talks last month between its represantantives and officials from the Mines and Mining Development Ministry. The talks involved Russian investors in the company.
The DTZ-OZGEO concession will be taken over by ZCDC, which will be owned 50 percent by government, while companies giving up their mining properties to the company will share the balance.
Government was represented in the talks by Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa, his permanent secretary, Francis Gudyanga and principal director, Charles Tahwa.
In terms of the agreement, ZCDC will take over the diamond concession situated in the Taka forest in Chimanimani.
The mining concession was expected to produce 50 000 carats per month once fully operational, according to DTZ-OZGEO projections.
Government is now expected to send its surveyors to evaluate the claims, machinery and plants bought by DTZ for the diamond project. It will them make a monetary settlement once the two parties agree on a figure.
Chidhakwa confirmed the development, saying he had indeed met officials from DTZ-OZGEO and agreed terms for the takeover of the company’s diamond claims.
“We had discussions with them, the intention having been to look into the equipment, the assets of the company in order to establish the value of those assets. We had very warm discussions with the Russians. They have indicated that they are very supportive of government policy. They are not going to fight the intention of government to consolidate their mining concession into the ZCDC,” said Chidhakwa.
“What we need to do is agree with them over the value of their assets. If we are happy to take over their assets and have money to pay for them, they are willing to sell their assets to us and they will explore other opportunities of investment in the country,” he said.
The Mines Minister said he was humbled by the magnanimity exhibited by the Russians in this matter.
DTZ-OZGEO is a joint venture between Econendra of Russia and the Development Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ), which is directly linked to the ruling ZANU-PF party.
The board of trustees for DTZ is appointed directly by President Robert Mugabe.
In terms of appointments made in 2014, former party national chairman and now ZANU-PF spokesman, Simon Khaya-Moyo, was the DTZ board chairman, with board members being Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi; Small Scale Enterprises Minister Sithembiso Nyoni; the late vice president Joshua Nkomo’s daughter Thandiwe Nkomo Ibrahim; former secretary to Cabinet Charles Utete; lawyer Sobusa Gula Ndebele; business executive Busi Bango; War Veterans Affairs Minister Tshinga Dube; and Chidhakwa.
Chidhakwa ordered all diamond miners in Chiadzwa to cease operations after their licenses expired last year to make way for the consolidated company.
He argued that the consolidated firm would bring transparency and accountability in the country’s diamond mining sector, where President Mugabe said the country had lost US$15 billion through looting.
Chidhakwa went on to reveal that they were also finalising talks to consolidate the Diamond Mining Company (DMC) into ZCDC.
“We are also finalising negotiations with DMC and very soon we will be able to take over the company, because DMC did not take us to court. We have been in talks with them for the past three weeks and we are almost finalising our discussions with them,” he said.
Chidhakwa said they would be announcing the chief executive officer and team for ZCDC soon as well as the mines managers for the properties that have already been consolidated. These are Marange Resources, Gyne Nyame and Kusena. Others like Jinan, which also has Chinese military interests and Rera are yet to be consolidated.
Follow us on Twitter on @FingazLive and on Facebook – The Financial Gazette