Herald Story is Absolute Nonsense Minister

obert_mpofuHARARE - The Minister of Mines and Mining Development minister has dismissed as "nonsense" claims by official media that the Zimbabwean government has stopped two companies licensed to mine the Chiadzwa diamond fields ostensibly because of environment concerns. (Pictured: Minister Obert Mpofu)

Minister Obert Mpofu told The Zimbabwean that it was “absolute nonsense” that two South African companies recently licensed by the government, Canadile Miners and Mbada Mining (Pvt) Ltd, to mine the Chiadzwa diamond fields, located in the Marange region, some 90 km southwest of the city of Mutare, on the eastern border with Mozambique had been stopped pending an environment assessment.

The reported government order to halt operations comes after the two companies had set up multi million dollar State-of-the-art plants to process rough diamonds fom the lucrative fields, including excavators, earthmovers to density medium separators.

The companies were awarded mining contracts for one of the worlds richest diamond fields by the Zimbabwe government even though a British-registered firm African Consolidated Resources has a high court order saying it alone has a right to the claim.

Mpofu told The Zimbabwean: “Thats nonsense. Get the truth from the authorities. Phone ZMDC (Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation). They are the ones who own that claim.”

Asked then why the official Herald had reported the matter as gospel truth, Mpofu said: “They are just excited. They (Herald) also should have checked with the authorities. Phone Mubaiwa at ZMDC.”

Mubaiwa was not immediately available at the time of going to press.

The Herald reported that Zimbabwes Environment Management Agency (EMA) has stepped in and stopped operations claiming Mbada Diamond Mining failed to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment before starting to mine.

The newspaper did not state why EMA turned a blind eye to the firms operations until now amid the high publicity that surrounded the launch of the mining operations at the fields.

The environment assessment can take months, and Mpofu dismissed the report as a figment of the newspaper’s imagination.

If true, the order would have represented a huge loss of revenue for Mbada Mining (Pvt) Ltd, which had installed a plant to mine 300,000 tons of ore per hour and was in the process of investing in another plant with a capacity to process 100,000 tons of ore per hour.

The newspaper had claimed the parastatal ZMDC would use the equipment, worth more than US$100 million, which the two companies had put on site at the diamond fields to continue mining. It is not clear why the environment assessment exempts ZMDC.

Efforts to obtain comment from Canadile local representative Lovemore Kurotwa were futile at the time of going to print.

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