40 Diamond Mine Guards Fired For Getting Bribes From Panners
Several illegal diamond miners were discovered this last week hiding in a pit on the claim now being mined by Canadile Mining in the Chiadzwa Diamond Fields of Zimbabwe. They were handed over to the police and revealed that they had been let in the night before by the security guards at the mine. Forty guards have now lost their jobs because of the security breach.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 02 December 2009
Forty guards at the Marange Diamond Fields have been fired for accepting bribes from illegal diamond miners.
The guards are said to have accepted the bribes in order to allow the illegal miners to get into the Canadile mines at the diamond fields at night in order to mine the precious minerals.
Security at Marange Diamond Fields is now so tight that the small-scale and illegal miners are finding it difficult to continue with their operations. They thus resort to bribing guards at night to be let into the diamond claims owned and fenced off by the mining companies now operating there.
The diamond panners are said to have hidden in one of the pits dug before the new companies started operations, with the intention of resuming their operations the following night. However, a worker who had been asked to fill up the pits to allow earth-moving vehicles to operate in the area discovered them and they were handed over to the police.
They spilled the beans on the guards who had allowed them into the complex, leading to the firings.
The risk taken by the illegal miners shows just how tight security has now become at Chiadzwa. The Canadile operation is protected by double electric fences.
On the other hand, there are other fenced-off areas that are known to belong to certain high-profile politicians in Zimbabwe and these are also protected by plainclothes intelligence operatives now. So getting in there is also a difficult mission for the illegal diamond miners.
The country, though, is till to get any benefits from the mining operations at the diamond fields and is living from hand to mouth.
The Inclusive Government of Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai is in the process of licencing even more companies to operate in the area, including a Chinese firm and another South African company (Canadile, the mining company that fired the guards, is also South African owned).
Africa Consolidated Resources, which owns the rights to the Chiadzwa diamond fields that are now being carved up by the government, is British-owned and Mugabe has vowed that, considering what he sees as a campaign of vilification from the British government, ACR will never be allowed back on the fields. It is his way of fixing the British.
ACR has, however, won a court case in Zimbabwe confirming that it is the owner of the diamond claims. Government immediately appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, ensuring that the case will drag on for at least another three years, considering the backlog of cases before the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe.