Diamond firms must face the music

It is disturbing that companies mining diamonds at the Marange fields in Manicaland are demanding extra concessions from the government after realising that alluvial deposits are fast running out.

Paul Bogaert
Paul Bogaert

The companies now want more claims allowing them to mine surface diamonds as they lack the infrastructure to extract conglomerates that are located deep underground.

They also claim that, because of the depletion of surface deposits, they are now operating at a loss, and want to use new alluvial claims to generate enough money to invest in underground mining.

This does not make sense at all. These mines have been operating in Marange for years and, at their peak, were making eye-watering profits, even though the public was never fully informed about the actual amounts they extracted. They should have planned ahead. Mining is not the same as harvesting wild fruits, whereby you just keep picking until the fruits are finished and then you move on to the next forest. As a commercial business, it requires a lot of forward planning.

The mines must have used the profits they were making to invest in underground extraction of the gems. These companies should not seek to make us believe that they did not know that the surface diamonds would at one time dry up. Normally, mines carry out explorations and forecast when their deposits will run out. Why then did the diamond firms fail to do that, if it is true that they did not do so?

We suspect that someone, somewhere, had given these companies a false sense of hope, lying to them, possibly for money, that they would always be allocated new alluvial claims in the event that the current ones dried up. If they believed that, it is their problem and they should pay the price.

We urge the government not to entertain these mines’ requests for extra claims and instead consider the hundreds other companies that are on the waiting list. The current operating companies should find a way of extending their operations deeper underground or get out of business, simply because they have demonstrated that they are poor planners. They rode on the back of partisanship and thought the sun would never sink, so they should have faced the twilight on their own.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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