International diamond mining companies wanting to exploit diamonds in Chiadzwa are doing so under cover to avoid detection by Western countries that have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.
It has emerged that several international companies which expressed interest in mining diamonds at the controversial fields pleaded with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) to protect their identities.
Up to 12 companies expressed interest in forming partnerships with the ZMDC to mine diamonds in Chiadzwa.
But they do not want their identities known preferring to use special purpose vehicles or proxy companies.
The revelations are contained in documents prepared by the ZMDC detailing the operations and shareholding structures of Core Mining, which was in partnership with the state-owned enterprise.
The companies which the ZMDC says expressed interest in forming joint venture operations are:
Benny Steinmetz Group Resources (BSGR), Alrosa, Namakwa Diamonds, Gem Diamonds, Reclaim, SAIIC, Community Energy (Pvt) Ltd, New African Mining, WMJ Lotter Consultancy, African Consolidated Resources (ACR), Elkart and PC Diamonds.
Suspended ZMDC chief executive Douglas Mubayiwa said because Zimbabwe was under sanctions from Western countries the companies did not want to offend the European Union (EU) and the United States.
“Zimbabwe as a country and ZMDC as an institution have sanctions imposed them by the European Union and United States of America. Most big investors have expressed concern and fear of being penalised because of their intended association with Zimbabwe,” Mubayiwa said in a document outlining proposed joint venture deals.
“Consequently, they have asked to partner ZMDC, through special purpose vehicles to hide their identities. Their concerns must be acknowledged.
“Similarly, ZMDC should be allowed to enter into joint ventures in Marange through special purpose vehicles that have not attracted attention worldwide.”
Mubayiwa was arrested two weeks ago together with four ZMDC former board members on allegations that they fraudulently awarded Canadile mining rights in Chiadzwa. Lovemore Kurotwi, a director in Canadile Miners, was also arrested. They are out on bail.
The EU and the United States have imposed punitive measures on Zimbabwe to arm-twist President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF political party to restore democracy in Zimbabwe.
President Mugabe argues the measures are aimed at forcing his government to reverse the land reform programme and to effect regime change.
Out of the 12 companies listed by the ZMDC only Reclaim and BSGR were awarded concessions at Chiadzwa.
Reclaim formed a partnership with the ZMDC to form Mbada Diamonds while BSGR went into a partnership with the state enterprise through Core Mining to form Canadile Miners.
It later turned out that BSGR had no relations with Core Miners culminating in the collapse of Canadile Miners.
The government has licensed three more diamond investors to extract the gems in Chiadzwa.
The companies are Anjin and Sino-Zimbabwe, both from China.
Another company Pure Diamonds was also given concession in Chiadzwa.