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Chiadzwa Part 2: A story no one would ever tell… what US$15 billion could have done

By Julias Muguwe

The city of Mutare was then a hive of activity. Everyone wanted a piece of the cake. Arabs, Lebanese, South Africans started flocking into Harare for their loot.

File picture of diamond panners rounded up by soldiers in the Marange area
File picture of diamond panners rounded up by soldiers in the Marange area

Diamonds were being smuggled willy-nilly. ZRP became mining engineers, the army became mine shift bosses, politicians grew bellies, mansions sprouted in Harare. The poor souls from Chiadzwa, all they could do is engage in running battles with the favoured armed ones.

Homesteads were destroyed, ambitions vanished. It was like a parliament of baboons waking up to find a maize field on top of a mountain. Villagers lost their lives whilst the Ministry of mines umpired the madness. Indeed the nation lost a fortune and God will never forgive them looters.

Did the state lose only US15$ billion only? I don’t know only God knows! What Could We Have Done Better! It’s sad to note that Zimbabwe with such high levels of literacy could not manage a God given fortune. Those in power thought they could have it all to themselves.

A lot are still enjoying their loots. How do civil servants build such mansions? Diamonds are stashed in some people’s houses. There are things we could have done for the development of our nation honestly such as:

• Nationalisation of the resource.

• Evaluate the resource as per international standards.(drilling/ sampling). Should have thoroughly analysed the diamond concentrations within the kimberlites.

Its common geological knowledge that an intrusion via the mantle causes contact metamorphism. (Sorry I can’t be simple on this term). That process has an effect on the crystallisation of the diamonds hence quality. We should have characterised the diamonds on quality and size basis.

• Done a due diligence using local talent i.e. detailed mapping. Most importantly a rock mechanics analysis so as to determine the mechanisation needed when we hit hard rock.

Sadly we hit the hard rock unprepared. All this could have been afforded from the proceeds of just trial mining and using local talent. I know for sure the university of Zimbabwe has produced world-class geologists and mining engineers who could have done this.

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I could have done it. There was no need to invite all those *Paper Bag* mining (The seven) companies to come and feast. That was the most stupid decisions I have seen since birth.

• Could have put up a re-investment plan, used the revenue to develop many other diamond prospects in the country I won’t mention in this report.

Consequentially the following could have happened:

• By now the city of Mutare could have been the second largest City.

• Could have employed thousands of people.

• Could be having a viable diamond school of mines, i.e. diamond cutting, polishing, grading. Zimbabwe could have been producing the finished products even up to now.

• Could by now have commissioned a manufacturing company for sampling blades, drill bits, grinding wheels all for the benefit of our other mines who are closing down because they cant source these without forex. (remember the industrial uses of diamonds I mentioned in part 1.)

Now given the calibre, running the mines ministry these visions are beyond sight! They believe we can only move because of investors! It’s sad that mentality has been dangerously adopted in our country. This is why even anekamunda arikuda investors to grow tomatoes!!.

The main reason we seek so much for investors is to create avenues for looting via those SPECIAL CORRUPTION PURPOSE VEHICLES!

Remember Chiadzwa diamonds ranks amongst the biggest diamond deposits in the world not Africa! And Then The loot was no more.

The language was now “Ngodaaa”, “dhimola” kana kuti hanzi ndine “clear.” Everyone in Mutare was moving with a stone or stones wrapped in a plastic and kept somewhere around the body.

Conmen were busy this time around as well. Diamond manifests were being circulated around all with the same theme, hanzi “Ndikutsvaka buyer”. With time looting became harder and harder as the hard conglomerate became harder to excavate.

Following bountiful allegations of looting, all diamond mining companies were thrown out from the Chiadzwa diamond fields in 2016 and forced to merge into the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC). Too late a move.

Some foreign companies lost equipment, some lost diamonds in vaults as hardhearted measures were put in place. It’s desolate to note that our government took so long to realize that the Investments made were not adequate to go beyond mining alluvial diamonds.

Very little exploration was done all this attributable to Greediness. What followed next is a story for all, a collapsed Bond Paper economy. We will never forget how our Nation was wrecked only by a handful. Diamonds done and dusted here comes now The Mashurugwi Debacle…What are they?

Julias Muguwe (MDC UK And Ireland Portfolio) is the Secretary for Mines And Mineral Resources. He is a Registered competent Scientist with SACNASP, SAIMM and a fellow of The Geological Society of England. (GEOSOL)