History Monday 1. The History of Marange Diamond Fields (The Ownership)

Fact: Marange could represent 25% of the world’s diamonds deposits.

The Marange diamond fields were supposedly ‘discovered’ in 2006. The deposits are believed to make up approximately 25% of the world’s ‘known’ deposits. In 2013, the fields produced 16.9 million carats. This translates to roughly 13% of global rough diamond supply.

Production figures (unofficial):

  • 2013 – 16.9 million carats
  • 2012 – 12 million carats
  • 2011 – 8.7 million carats
  • 2010 – 8.2 million carats

Marange diamond fields are located in the Chiadzwa, Mutare West, Manicaland Province in Zimbabwe. The fields are 90km south west of Mutare. Despite the many claims of the approximate value of the deposits, we can safely say, these fields are home to one of the richest deposits and (in carats) the world’s biggest diamond. Zimbabweans should celebrate but alas like many things in Zimbabwe these, production is controversial. There are widespread cases of legal battles between government and illegal miners; as well as allegations of forced labour.

Since the early 1980s, De Beers has held an EPO ( Exclusive Prospecting Order) over the Marange diamond fields. This EPO was under Kimberlitic Searches Ltd.

For the conspiracy theorists out there -Now the next is not fact so take it with a pinch of salt:

Apparently back in the day, there was some indication that Zimbabwe was not going in the right direction. Why do you ask? Well look at Gukurahundi and the Patriotic Front. So what De Beers did was pour concrete in some of its mining interests or in this case take the paperwork and put it in a deep dark hole till such a time when the atmosphere was assuredly more favourable for its interests. (Well, I’ve catered to all those conspiracy theorists out there).

How far true these rumours are? well I guess we will never know in this case because in 2006 their EPO expired and the rights taken over by African Consolidated Resources (British rgistered company). But whilst readying trial mining in December 2006, the rights were taken over by the Zimbabwean Government through Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation. Surprise, surprise….this was done ‘illegally’ and despite African Consolidated Resources wining a court case allowing them to mine; the government took it!

And in 2010, the High Court of Zimbabwe allowed the selling of diamonds from Marange. In a gross miscarriage of justice, the High Court had dismissed the British Consolidated Resources’ application to stop diamond sales from the fields. It formally revoked the earlier rulings made to restore the mining rights of British Consolidated Resources.

In 2014, there were 7 different entities that are connected with the Zimbabwean government, (Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, ZMDC). Surprise, surprise, these private entities are alleged to be controlled by ex-military personnel. The 7 entities are:

  • Marange Resources
  • Anjin Investments Ltd
  • Diamond Mining Company
  • Gyn Nyame Resources
  • Jinan Mining Ltd
  • Kusena Diamonds
  • Mbada Diamonds

Next week, we will look more into the Marange Diamond Fields.

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