Court Stops Government Diamond Mining

The case was brought to the court by British-based African Consolidated Resources (ACR) in a bid to win back its mining rights which were suspended in 2006. The government is appealing a court ruling returning the fields to ACR.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and Minerals Marketing Corporation “must cease all mining activities”, in his judgement quoted by the state-run Herald.

“Allowing the applicants to continue mining has the potential of causing irreparable damage to the respondents (ACR) should the (government) appeal fail,” Chidyausiku said.

Since the suspension, the Zimbabwe government and the London Stock Exchange-listed ACR have been in a legal fight over ownership of the Marange diamond fields.

After the firm was forced to shut down its operations, the minefields fell into the hands of illegal panners, leading to the deployment of state security agents who were accused of using force to evict diamond dealers, resulting in deaths and injuries.

The Supreme Court has already ordered that the central bank keep 129 400 carats of diamonds, seized from ACR in 2007, until the courts make a final determination on the case.

Zimbabwe last week published new regulations to give local investors a 51% stake in major corporations such as banks and mines.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the regulations which are to take effect in March were invalid as they were not discussed and approved by cabinet, highlighting tensions in Zimbabwe’s strained unity government.