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Diamond miners in Zim told to cease operations

News24  reported that Zimbabwe was seizing diamond companies that were operating without licences and had spurned an offer to join a state conglomerate.

"Today the government is taking over mines in Chiadzwa and Chimanimani," Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa told a news conference in the capital.

"The government is hereby requesting the diamond companies to stop all operations and shut down all processes, to co-operate in the handover and takeover and to immediately vacate the mining areas without any items," he said.

Zimbabwe last year ordered diamond companies, including joint ventures with Chinese companies mining gems in the eastern Marange, to come under the aegis of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company government conglomerate.

The company was formed "to explore, recover and sell all diamonds in Zimbabwe" following concerns over the disappearance of diamonds and trading on the black market, leaving only little revenue trickling into state coffers.

"It has since come to our attention that the joint venture companies have been operating illegally as permits which had been granted expired and were not renewed over the last four or five years," Chidhakwa said.

The government announced plans last year to merge a total of six companies operating in Marange in the eastern Manicaland province - including one wholly-owned by the state - into a single entity.

As a result diamond mining companies are planning to sue the Zimbabwean government

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