‘I’ll ensure all diamonds are accounted for’ Chidhakwa

AFTER being given a new five-year mandate on July 31, President Robert Mugabe has repeatedly said the mining industry should play a critical role in economic growth.

This, however, falls contrary to assertions by former Finance minister Tendai Biti who, during his tenure, lamented over poor remittance of royalties to Treasury by mining companies, particularly those involved in diamond mining.

NewsDay Chief Reporter Everson Mushava (ND) on Wednesday interviewed the new Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidhakwa for insights into how his ministry plans to harness mineral resources to turn around the country’s economic fortunes.

ND: Hon Chidhakwa, how do you see the potential of the mining industry?
WC: I look at this ministry with the eyes of an investment promotional officer, that is my background. My deputy is a mining engineer and the permanent secretary is a metallurgist. When we discuss the mining sector, we look at all these three perspectives.

The few weeks that I have been Minister of Mines have demonstrated that this country is endowed with mineral resources, but unfortunately we have not done sufficient exploration work to say this is what we have. Exploration gives us information on the geology of any piece of land. That alone can be the basis on which we can attract investors because we know how much each piece of land can give the investor. We need to do much exploration in order to know how rich we are.

These few weeks have also shown me that there is tremendous interest in our mining sector, and value addition. You would have thought that foreign investors only love to take away raw materials. They are also interested in value addition. That alone tells us that there are huge prospects of industrialisation and His Excellency is very passionate about it.

While revival of industry can be stimulated by mechanising struggling companies, I see value addition of our minerals as the new area of industrialisation. For example, by polishing diamonds, you open the jewelry sector, that is industrialisation.

ND: What do you think needs to be done for the sector to play a critical role in the revival of the economy?
WC: One of the first things that we have to do is to revive New Zim Steel. We are working very closely with the Minister of Industry and Commerce to revive the company and with the co-operation obviously of the proprietors of the business, we hope that we will be able to revive it and by so doing, revive other little companies that were established at the back of the steel that came from New Zim Steel.

Second, we have to look at the marketing side to see if through our minerals the country is getting optimum return. If there is some weakness in the evaluation of our minerals, we must revisit the process and improve them so that they match the other companies in the world that are also marketing the same minerals. It is looking for efficiencies in the marketing and selling process.

And having done that, we believe we must speed up the process of establishing new entities. There are in our system proposals for mining that have stayed for a long time, some of them at the stage of accessing ground, some of them at the level of exploration, some of them at the level of mining. For one reason or the other, they have not been able to start the actual mining, albeit having gone through the initial stages of accessing the ground.

ND: President Mugabe has said his new government would use mining to stimulate industrial revival and growth. Former Finance minister Tendai Biti repeatedly accused diamond mining companies of not remitting money to Treasury. What mechanism have you established to ensure that funds are remitted to Treasury to resuscitate ailing companies?
WC: It is about what the companies produce. It is, therefore, about security systems from production right to marketing. The only problem with that allegation (non-remittance) is that there is no evidence so that we can follow up to demonstrate our determination to stamp out such abuses.

But even then, we have not said completely that we will disregard the information because it is not substantiated. But we have said, let us look at the security systems, whether it will be in the platinum sector, the diamond sector, from production to the export and ensure that everything is done in line with sufficiently protected security systems to detect leakages.

We have called on the State companies, ZMDC (Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation) and the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe. We want to make sure that as diamonds pass through the marketing system, they are all accounted for.

ND: Are mining companies co-operative in setting up watertight security systems that can deter abuse so that Treasury can generate more?
WC: We have spoken to them (diamond mining companies) and none of them have raised objections to us tightening our systems, every one of them is happy to demonstrate to us that they are secure. They have come here, but I must also go to their places of operation to assess their secure systems.
We might want somebody with security expertise to say this is sufficient if it is sufficient. But I see the concern; diamonds are particularly difficult, because you can carry huge value in your palm, which cannot be the same with other minerals like coal or iron.

That is why security in the diamond sector is a major item. I believe that we need to continually review the systems because the people who want to abuse in diamond are always consistently looking for loopholes. Companies should not be satisfied with the systems they put in place five years ago.

I hope working with these companies will be able to assure Zimbabweans that they can go to sleep comfortably knowing that the wealth that is mines in the country is secured.

Not only secured, but that the proceeds are utilised for the benefit of all Zimbabweans regardless without regard to their political persuasion.

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23 Comments

  1. Mr. Chidakwa, your intentions are on the right path. However, I doubt you have full comprehension of what you are up against – even if you did, I still doubt you have what it takes to to stop the looting by the powerful who act like they own this country and its resources. Its a conveyor belt in motion, grinding everything on its way – with no hesitation at all. I even suspect our No.1 office knows them but is afraid of them. We love you dear Minister, we admire your intentions, but be very very careful. The sharks are on the prowl. The list gets longer – dont be the next victim.

  2. Ngwenayasvinura

    What can Chidhakwa say than to promise that all will be fine.He says this in the midst of accusations that his predecessor was laxed on controliing diamond money.This is clear acceptance that Mpofu was not doing enough from a senoir member of the same party,yet Zanu PF is saying Bitin was ‘not correct’ when he said he cant see where this money is going.

    What is the President, Mr R G Mugabe saying about corruption, not only on diamonds but in all sectors.He cant tell the nation that he cant see anything at all.

    1. Saka iwe waida kuti ani aite,,,Tsvangirai ne tu mbwanana twake takavazvambura pama elections,,,

  3. actually it aint anything to do with security but a standard known as CHECKS AND BALANCES where said security cannot start and end in the same institution.
    there is promise to move with a bit though.

  4. Thank yu Mr Chidhakwa,at least yu put hope in the hopeless,keep up the spirit and show the world that yu are capable,I have faith in yu,You are a humble man and I admire it.thank yu.

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  6. To the dear minister Chidakwa,

    I ask you to pay a visit to Hwange Colliery Company and sort out the multiple problems that have engulfed this once mighty company. How can miners work when they are owed six (6) months salary/wages?The miners are being issued with food hampers work USD$11, to cushion them from starvation. In this day and age, how can workers be paid in a form of food hampers? Imagine! The rot started when your current deputy was the MD of HCCL. Mr F Moyo is a very corrupt person, watch him closely. Fix the problems at HCCL urgently. More than 1500 miners have been issued with suspension letters because they demanded their wages. The spouses of the miners were butchered by the overzealous young police recruits, just because they wanted to engage management on the issue of unpaid wages. The current crop of managers are living like superstars, its only them getting travel allowances, building mansions and buying endless fleets of vehicles.

    This company will close down if government keeps seconding non performers to turn around this organization. Management has no idea on how to turn around this company, all they do is connive with corrupt suppliers for kick backs.

    How can management live posh life styles on the sweat and blood of the workers. This you can handle Cde Minister because no diamonds are at stake.

    1. You are right Slave Miner, Hwange Colliery’s management and board need to be disbanded.Instesad of the board supervising management it is colluding with corrupt management to abuse workers and enrich themselves. They are plundering this company. Soon it will be history if the axe does not fall on this board.

  7. The minister’s observation and appreciation of New Zimsteel’s strategic importance is a step in the right direction. However the commitment of Essar to New Zimsteel’s revival is highly questionable. Due to the basic need of steel in the economy, it may be worthwhile to consider a management contract at Ziscosteel rather than an outright sell. The revival of the company can be easily achieved by exporting iron ore from BIMCO.

  8. Muammar Gaddafi’s contribution to the people of Libya:

    1. All the newly weds people of Libya used to get about 50,000 dollars from Government to lead a very happy life.

    2. Home is the basic right of every citizen of Libya.

    3. There was no electricity bill in Libiya. Electricity was free in Libya.

    4. No interest loan for the people of Libya according to Law. Gaddafi was against interest since interest is forbidden in Islam.

    5. Gaddafi has increased the literacy rate from 25% to 83%. Education expenses in Government universities are free in Libya.

    6. Medical expenses in Government hospitals was free in Libya.

    7. The price of the patrol was 0.14 cents in Libya. Yes we all know Libya has got good petroleum resources. But the price seems to be too low. Isn’t it?

    8. When Libyan citizen wants to buy a car, Government used to subsidized 50% of the price of the car. 50%? sounds great!

    9. A huge bread used to cost only 15 cents in Libya.

    10. The GDP per capita of Libya is very high. Over 15,000 us dollars. Purchasing power was very high compare to the GDP.

    11. The economy of Libya was improving rapidly. In 2010 it had 10% growth. It has not external debts. It also has the reserves amount of 150+ billion dollars.

    12. Unemployment fees were given from the government until the person finds a Job.

    13. A Libyan mother used to get 5000 us dollars for giving birth a child.

  9. What is your point..??. Chienda kuLibya kwacho.

    1. I have doubled your figures, @Lets Share, yu are right, point cde fokolo is, ma Lybians were tricked into some democratising jihad of sorts when the West had other ideas…very different ones.

  10. My point is lets emulate what countries with vast mineral resources do…..LETS SHARE

    1. Kkkkkk, who wants to share in Mugabes cabinet??? Kana ndiwewo..
      You have a good point “lets share” its a wish that we get to that point of sharing.

  11. Willard Mubvumbi

    ITS EASIER SAID THAN DONE.

  12. Instead of sharing papa we will take away the little you have got. Talk of murambatsvina and now people are always living in fear that the small farms they got will be taken away. Why? Because they were told to vote against title deeds. I think by now we should have loads of ngoda somewhere because of sanctions. We dont have coz the guys who dont want to share are taking it away themselves and feed us with the sanction story. Papa we dont share in zimbabwe but tiz dog eat dog.

  13. Walter you seem to be having nice dreams. Keep on dreaming till you wake up to reality then you would know that there is nothing like the diamonds are for everyone in Zim

  14. Walter you seem to be having nice dreams. Keep on dreaming till you wake up to reality then you would know that there is nothing like the diamonds are for the benefit everyone in Zim

  15. i hope this minister is nothing like obert mpofu who bought half of Zimbabwe through Diamonds. lets hope there are God fearing, people loving minister out there

  16. Chokutanga kugwisa nehuori hwemangoda can u pliz dissolve all board members which consist of relatives of Obert Mpofu . We want technocrats who can drive our mining industry for the benefit of the nation not Obert Mpofu nehama dzake . Some of the board members who wer sworn in various instution have zero expertise in mining asi kuti waidonzera zvizukuru nana tete vamorewo riva renyika isu tichingova mbwa . Uyu ndewatete slogan hatidi kuhwa nyika haingaendi mberi , tozviziva kana wozipigwa nerifa remangoda unenge woita zheve dzakavhagwa nenamo usingachaiti zvokuti Nyika ibudirire asi kufumisa zvizukuru nanasekuru kwaZvimba

  17. they all fear God thats why they went kuvapositori nguva yeelections,only they do wat they dont preach,so lets not listen to this guy, just window dressing mapaper.As nw the country needs every cent they can get ,Handiti Chinamasa akanyimwa mari kuAmerica kwangaaenda uko.So lets wait and see,time will tell(Bob Marley)

  18. Wait until this minister starts making money for himself & get exposed to the shady deals, then you’ll understand that it’s every man for himself in this country

  19. We will believe you after you have acted according to your words.Some of you promised to construct railway line to Chitungwiza some yrs ago.We hear your words Minister and now wait for action.

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