The Chiadzwa diamond fields used to be managed by De Beers, the South African mining giant. De Beers sold its franchise to African Consolidated Resources (ACR), a British company before the Zanu (PF) regime confiscated the fields and handed them to the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), which in turn sub-contracted Mbada and Canadile Miners to mine Chiadzwa.
Speaking at a Hwange annual golf tournament at the weekend Mpofu said the government would soon launch legal proceedings against De-Beers for looting diamonds from Chiadzwa without the authorities’ knowledge.
“We are going to take legal action against them. We want them to account for tonnes and tonnes of diamonds which they were extracting and sending to Europe, claiming were just samples,” said Mpofu.
The Mines and Mining Development Minister said De Beers pulled out of the country when government began a probe into the operations of the company after getting wind that there were diamonds at Chiadzwa and that De Beers was covertly mining at the site.
“De Beers has been prospecting at Chiadzwa for more than 15 years, they only pulled out after we start investigating their operations in that area,” he said.
The Kimberley Process (KP) temporarily lifted a ban on diamond exports from Chiadzwa in July after their monitor Abbey Chikane said Zimbabwe had met all conditions set by the world diamond regulator.
Under a consensus agreement reached by the KP and Zimbabwe during the World Diamond Council meeting in Russia three months ago, Zimbabwe was allowed to conduct two supervised auctions of rough diamonds from the Chiadzwa diamond fields.
The move saw about 1.5 million carats of stockpiled Chiadzwa diamonds going under the hammer in August and September, prompting boycott calls from a leading international network of buyers and suppliers Rapaport Diamond Trading Network.