Mpofu, in his address on Friday during a pass out parade of prison officers in Ntabazinduna, on the outskirts of Bulawayo, urged all the country’s security organs to apply for mining licences, saying he is ready to grant them concessions anytime.
“I want to make it clear that if Zimbabwe Prison Services (ZPS) applies for a mining concession, I will give them anytime. That applies to the police, the army and the air force.
“These are the people who are protecting our resources. They are the people who made it possible to repossess what the colonisers took away from us,” Mpofu said in his address.
“Security forces should not be apologetic to seek mining claims. In any case, where in our statutes does it say that security forces should not participate in the economy,” the Mines Minister added.
The statement by Mpofu comes a few days after Radio VOP revealed that police have applied for a diamond concession.
Zimbabwe’s security forces have long been alleged to be involved in diamond mining in the vast Chiadzwa area.
Recently, Deputy Mines Minister, Gift Chimanikire confirmed that an army owned company, the Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI), holds a 40% stake at Anjin, one of the most lucrative diamond concessions in the country.
The military and other security organs started being involved in diamond mining during a clean-up operation in Chiadzwa in 2008.
The ‘Operation Hakudzokwi’ saw soldiers on the ground and in helicopter gunships opening fire on defenceless diamond panners, leaving at least 200 dead and many more injured.
This violence saw Zimbabwe being barred from international diamond trading by the industry watchdog, the Kimberley Process (KP).