By Staff Reporter
MUTARE-Cases of illegal diamond panning in Marange are likely to drop following a new deal which will see local communities partnering the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) and UK Stock listed company Vast Resources to mine the gems in the Chiadzwa diamond fields.
ZCDC chief security officer, Ellias Mvere, recently told an all stakeholders diamond indaba held in the eastern border town last week that a total of 3 259 illegal diamond panners were arrested from January to November this year with locals constituting 79% of the arrests.
Civic society and local traditional leadership cited unemployment, high poverty levels and hunger as major reasons forcing locals to engage in illegal diamond mining activities.
Addressing a the indaba, ZCDC acting chief executive officer, Roberto De Preto confirmed that the local Chiadzwa community will partner London Stock Exchange listed miner Vast Resources to form a company called Katanga.
“ZCDC want to form partnership with locals in the mining of diamonds and the agreement is expected to be signed by the end of the year. We are close to sign a joint venture to establish a company called Katanga which a joint venture between locals and a British capital listed company Vast Resources,” said De Preto.
He said this is the first time the community will become an active shareholder in the mining of diamonds.
“They will not be just partners but they will also receive profits from the mining activities,” said the acting chief executive officer adding “we are looking forward for the joint venture to be signed soon”.
He added that the joint venture between the ZCDC and Vast Resources is part of plans to increase Zimbabwe diamond output to 11 million carats per annum by 2023.
The local community welcomed the development as a step in the right direction in addressing the problems which were left unsolved by former mining companies.
Zimbabwe`s diamond production reached 1,8 million carats in 2017,going up to 2,8 million carats in 2018 while the target for this year and next five years is 3.1 million and 6.12 million carats respectively.