China wants se­cond bite of cherry

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - BUSINESS - Golden Sibanda Se­nior Busi­ness Re­porter

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.