FOUR people were arrested for attempting to steal equipment in the Chiadzwa diamond fields in Manicaland after government on Monday ordered all mining companies in the area to cease operations.
Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa confirmed the arrests while addressing journalists in the capital last night.
“There were two incidents of people who tried to come into the area and four people were arrested after they tried to steal solar panels. We also heard that there was an attempt to steal computers from another room,” he said.
The minister, however, dismissed reports of massive looting of gems, mining equipment, fuel and household goods in the chaos that followed his ban on mining operations in the diamond fields.
“I was worried in the morning (yesterday) after the calls and media reports. But as I got there the contrast in environment could not have been more apparent. The area is quiet.
“There are no people except security details and trucks picking ore. There is no sign of chaos or the mayhem as reported,” Chidakwa said, adding the decision to shut down the mines had Cabinet approval.
He insisted the government would not renegotiate with the mining companies or rethink its position because “they did not even try to regularise their licences even when they were aware they had expired”.
Chidakwa said the government was now in sole charge of all diamond-related activities in the country and he will next week announce the new management structure of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company.