Illegal miners invade Zimbabwe's diamond fields


Zimbabwe's controversial Marange diamond fields has been invaded by illegal artisanal miners, a few days after the government ordered mining companies to leave the area.

The government on Monday ordered all companies in the area to cease operations after it took over the concessions.

According to local newspapers on Wednesday, the illegal miners had invaded the mining areas stealing thousands of litres of fuel, mining equipment worth millions of dollars and vital documents.

The illegal panners are back in full swing and they have started panning

The State controlled The Herald newspaper said a ministerial team had been dispatched to assess the situation in the Marange area.

Mines and Mining Development ministry's permanent secretary Francis Gudyanga said the government wanted to establish what was happening following reports of chaos in the area.

"There have been all sorts of reports coming from that area. We have our officers on the ground and by midday tomorrow we will have the reports," he said.

The mining companies say the takeover was not properly organised, hence the disturbances.

"The illegal panners are back in full swing and they have started panning," The Herald reported. "All the mine security details were removed from the mine. The police and officials from the ministry are inadequate to secure the fields."

Only 15 security guards were deployed to secure an area that was guarded by over 120 security personnel at a time. "This is a mess," an official from one of the affected companies was quoted saying.

"Now there is no value for what we built over six years and now it's being destroyed in a day," he added. "They should have at least allowed us to plan, take care of our personnel first, secure the equipment and property and then allow proper hand-over-take over".

The government has created one firm– the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company – to mine the precious mineral after frustrations that the diamond revenues were not trickling into Treasury.

The companies started operations after the government in 2008 carried out a bloody military clampdown to remove the illegal miners from the recently discovered diamond fields.

There was optimism that the diamond mines would lift Zimbabwe from the economic problems of the last decade is fast fizzling out amid reports the companies have already exhausted the alluvial gemstones.


| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 |

Mining industry must spread social and environmental progress to small-scale mines

  1. Artisanal and small-scale mines, normally operating in the informal economy, produce a big chunk of the minerals we use every day -- about a fifth of the world's gold produced each year, for example. …
  2. {read by 20 people}

Artisanal miners being duped

  1. Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) said on Monday artisanal miners, who are contributing significantly to the country's gold production, were being duped by middle-men who are buying the yellow meta…
  2. {read by 33 people}

How a young German director documented illegal gold mining in Ghana

  1. Filmmaker Johannes Preuss has received a student Oscar for his film, "Galamsey," which was shot in Ghana and looks at the illegal gold trade there. DW met him to discuss how the country could "turn in…
  2. {read by 53 people}

Gold war in Colombia: traditional miners against the state

  1. Luz Dary has spent more than half of her life in the mine. This 47-year-old Colombian woman is a chatarrera, a scrap collector: she toils away, every day, from six in the morning to six at night, alon…
  2. {read by 54 people}

Daily Grind: Women Stone Crushers Feed Demand for Construction in Kenya

  1. KISII, KENYA - On a fine afternoon in Nyantitira village, about 192 miles (310 km) west of Nairobi, Gladys Nanzala emerges from her house armed with a spade, a bucket and a few sacks. She is heading b…
  2. {read by 49 people}

SA's influence felt in start of African tin mine

  1. Two global events have led to development of a long-dormant deposit at Bisie - in thick forest in the war-torn corner of the Democratic Republic of Congo - in what will become Africa's only formal tin…
  2. {read by 72 people}