Zimbabwe Diamonds Court Case Opens Can Of Worms

Robert Mugabe looks at a picture of himself taken by MDC-Tsvangirai Minister of Water Affairs, Sipepa Nkomo, who is part of his delegation in Copenhagen. This was yesterday, 16 December 2009. Meantime, back home, it is now clear just how much of a charade the whole mining thing at the Diamond Fields of Zimbabwe (the fourth largest in the world) is.



Harare, Zimbabwe, 17 December 2009


Regular readers will, of course, remember me saying that of the two companies operating at the Chiadzwa Diamond Fields in Marange, Zimbabwe, Mbada was the secretive one, whose partners could not really be established and whose officials are reluctant to speak even to State media in Zimbabwe.


Well, the court case brought by Africa Consolidated Resources to have the two companies, Canadile and Mbada, evicted from the fields, has forced the Zimbabwe government to come clean.


First, we were told that Mbada was a South African company that had partnered with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Company (ZMDC). That was two weeks ago, when news emerged that Mbada had managed to lease the Old Hangar at Harare International Airport and was flying private jets into the country from South Africa on a daily basis.


Now, as a result of having to come clean in court, it turns out Mbada is actually a subsidiary of ZMDC, while Canadile, which was more transparent and forthcoming in dealings with media, is the one with a South African angle.


The ZMDC subsidiary, Mbada, has outspent Canadile in terms of capital outlay at the Diamond Fields.


Where they got the money is still a mystery and much more so now that it is clear they are a Zimbabwean operation. I have hinted before that this was a vehicle put in place simply to "regularise" the military control of the diamond riches coming from Marange. The latest revelations show that this indeed is what we are looking at.


Canadile, however, was more professional in its approach and was making huge strides in terms of mining the fields, but now both they and Mbada have been stopped from operating at the Diamond Fields by the Zimbabwe government, which says they need to have an Environmental Impact Assessment Study done and approved before they can resume work.


Meantime, ZMDC is left alone to continue operations, since they are not banned from mining at the Diamond Fields. Which means that, although, officially, Mbada has been ordered to cease mining together with Canadile, Mbada is still very much doing business but now only as ZMDC, since it is a subsidiary of the government company and ownership lines are not defined clearly by anybody. This was deliberate.


It is now clear from information at hand that this is a ruse to simply sideline Canadile, the more professional and hence, more active, company at the Fields in order to give the government company room to breath, to make more money and to exploit the fields fully before what government sees the inevitable eviction of the company from Chiyadzwa.


Still, the bottom line is that now we know: Mbada is ZMDC and ZMDC is Mbada. It puts a whole lot of things into perspective. All those planes flying in and out of Harare International Airport now make sense. All the money spent by the company now makes sense.


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