China wants second bite of cherry
BEIJING is hopeful its investors will get a second opportunity to participate in Zimbabwe’s diamond industry when Government completes crafting the National Diamond Policy, a top Chinese official said.
Prior to creation of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company in 2016, several firms — among them Chinese-backed ones — dug for diamonds in Chiadzwa.
These were Anjin, Jinan, Diamond Mining Company, Mbada Diamonds, DTZ Ozgeo, Rera, Gye-Nyame, Kusena and Marange Resources.
Anjin Investments was a joint venture between Government’s ZMDC and China’s Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group.
China’s Acting Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Zhao Baogang recently said diplomats had indicated to him that they got “very” concerned about investments in Zimbabwe after Chinese firm, Anjin, lost its licence when Government consolidated diamond operations.
He said they pointed out to him that they felt quite insecure if Zimbabwe could treat a close ally like China in such a manner. Mr Zhao said miners affected by consolidation of diamond operations wanted to co-operate with Government to develop the sub-sector.
He expressed hope that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s new administration was taking a different approach to economic management.
“(Consolidation) happened more than two years ago and now when we have a new Government under the leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and new Mines Minister (Winston) Chitando. The relevant stakeholders say that a new diamond policy will be put forward.
“So I expect that under the framework of the new policy, they could have a new round of consultations and discussions and reach consensus on the future co-operation in the diamond sector.
“I am very optimistic about it because the relevant companies expressed their appreciation and their willingness to join the cooperation, to join the development of the sector,” Mr Zhao said.
He said following the closure of companies operating in Chiadzwa, Zimbabwe’s diamond sector went on a downward spiral and “all sides suffered great losses”.
“So, we have to draw lessons and experiences from this because the two friends suffered losses and all the other people were happy.”
ZCDC expects to produce three million carats this year, up from 1,6 million in 2017; while production could hit 12 million carats in 2023.