The Sunday News
Cletus Mushanawani in CHIADZWA
CHINESE mining giant Anjin Diamond’s return to full-scale operations in Chiadzwa is set to boost the country’s coffers as the company used to contribute up to US$200 million to the economy before stopping mining in 2016.
Speaking at a ceremony to launch Anjin Diamond Mining Company’s official resumption of operations in Chiadzwa yesterday, President Mnangagwa said his Government was determined to restore productivity of diamonds for the development of the economy.
Through unity of purpose and hard, honest work, said the President, attainment of a US$12 billion mining industry economy and the country’s vision 2030, was possible. Further, he said, his Government would do all in its power to “change the quality of life of our people in all parts of the country”. President Mnangagwa also implored Anjin and other mining companies operating in Chiadzwa to prioritise employment of locals, especially women and youths.
“I urge Anjin and other companies here to ensure that women and youths are the largest beneficiaries of employment opportunities being created. I urge mining firms to undertake relevant responsive corporate social responsibility programmes for the benefit of local communities. I am informed that there is a place in India where there is no diamond mine, but they have a US$5 billion diamond industry.
I’m told Zimbabwe contributes a lot of diamonds there. I don’t know how those diamonds get there.
“We need that value addition done here in Zimbabwe, not elsewhere so that we extract maximum value of the minerals which we have. With unity of purpose, hard, honest work and greater determination, the realisation of the US$12 billion mining economy and the attainment of our national vision 2030 will soon become a reality.”
In 2016, Anjin was among several companies that were affected by Government’s decision to let the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) become the sole diamond mining company allowed to operate in Chiadzwa. After being given the nod to resume operations early this year, Anjin has so far invested about US$38 million to resuscitate operations and about 500 people will be employed.
“Our decision in 2016 affected the production of diamonds for the last four years. We are now determined to restore the productivity of diamonds for the development of our economy. I made a decision to personally travel around the country to inspect various development programmes and investments which are underway within all our provinces. As a servant leader, I am leading a Government which is people-orientated. We will do all that is possible to change the quality of life of our people in all parts of the country.”
President Mnangagwa also revealed that exploitation of various diamond deposits outside Manicaland is set to begin. He said authorities were now aware of various deposits of diamonds outside Manicaland and soon some of these places will be exploited.
“It is our desire that both local and foreign investors should come and take up investment opportunities in the diamond industry. We must look beyond the horizon and develop robust strategies to come up with a thriving mining sector to grow our economy. You will recall that at the advent of the Second Republic, my Government made a deliberate pronouncement to allow foreign owned companies, Anjin and Alrosa, to participate in the diamond mining sector. This strategic decision was informed by the long standing relationship between Zimbabwe and China as well as Russia, who stood by us during our bitter armed struggle to liberate this country,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said Zimbabwe would soon be an exporter of electricity.
“Those of you who do not have short memories will remember that three or four weeks ago I was in Hwange where I visited nine companies of which seven of them are Chinese, while two are locals. By 2023 these companies should be generating in excess of 6 900MW of power. That will make Zimbabwe energy sufficient and be able to export part of that energy.
“It was a shame that in the immediate past we had begun to import coal from Botswana when we have abundant coal in this country. That will not happen again under the current administration. We are determined not only to produce adequate coal for ourselves, but enough to export and that is on course,” said President Mnangagwa.
The commissioning ceremony was attended by Vice-President Dr Constantino Chiwenga, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube and Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution Ellen Gwaradzimba.
Yesterday’s visit to Manicaland was the President’s last stop in a whirlwind economic projects tour, which began in Victoria Falls on Thursday where he officially launched the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy.
The President led the restart of the sector, whose contribution to the national economy has been heavily crippled by the outbreak of Covid-19.
The National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy seeks to provide increased funding to affected tourism businesses, including small to medium players within the tourism value chain through a Tourism Revolving Fund.
He also officially re-opened the Victoria Falls Rainforest, signalling the country’s readiness to welcome visitors to the prime resort destination. Earlier on President Mnangagwa had toured tourism facilities in the resort town before commissioning the 19-suite luxurious Mbano Manor Hotel, which was built using local funding. He also visited the massive 146-room Palm Lodge facility, which is still under construction and is estimated to cost close to US$24 million.
On Friday, the President commissioned a 32,2km stretch of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway under Phase One of the rehabilitation, upgrading and widening project. The work is being done by local contractors.
The President had a brief stopover in Chivhu where Fossil Contracting has completed 9km of which 7,2km has been opened for traffic, while Masimba Construction, Exodus and Company, and Tensor Systems are at priming stage and will start surfacing this month.