By Staff Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) should be spared ongoing load shedding by power utility, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), a government official said.
Speaking while officially opening the All Stakeholders Diamond Indaba held in Mutare this past week, Minister of State for Manicaland province, Ellen Gwaradzimba, said the parastatal was a major source of revenue for the country.
Zimbabwe is facing an acute power shortage that has forced ZESA to impose tight power rationing schedules that have often seen industry and households go for up to 18 hours a day without electricity.
This has impacted negatively on other sectors of the economy such as mining and agriculture which are the mainstay of the economy.
“We heard that ZCDC operations are being crippled by ongoing power cuts and fuel challenges…we need to come up with mitigatory measures to ensure the smooth flow of mining in Chiadzwa diamond areas,” said Gwaradzimba.
The minister also said there was need to link ZCDC to the national power grid, adding that the company should be able to run throughout the year without interruption.
“The mine should be able to run 24-7-365 without interruption because we are looking up to the diamonds as our major source of revenue,” said the top government official.
Gwaradzimba said she was impressed that diamond matters regarding the mining and sale of diamonds from Manicaland’s Chiadzwa area were now being discussed openly as opposed to previous years under then President Robert Mugabe when such issues were shrouded in mystery.
The minister said her wish was to see ZCDC engaging more partners in the extraction of diamonds in Marange.
“My wish is to see more players with capacity to mine diamonds coming on board for the benefit of the local communities and the entire country.
“I don’t see the reason why we remain poor when there are other players with capacity to extract diamonds.
“We don’t want players who just come to grab concessions for speculative purposes.
“We want due diligence processes to be followed when we engage other players to partner us in diamond extraction,” said Gwaradzimba.
She said ZCDC should not impose projects on the communities, adding that there should be engagement processes amongst stakeholders.
“ARDA villagers are threatening to come and demonstrate at my office because they are not happy with certain issues.
“We should come up with a relocation model that is sustainable for local communities.
“Houses are not enough but we want livelihood sustainable projects so that local communities can produce food to feed themselves,” said the minister.