14 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Govt to Sue Mining Giant De Beers

Photo: Denford Magora
The reddish-coloured diamonds of Marange in Zimbabwe.

Victoria Falls — Government will engage legal experts to sue South African diamond company De Beers on allegations that the firm looted over 100 000 tonnes of diamonds worth billions of dollars from Marange. According to evidence gathered by experts in the Mines and Mining Development ministry since the discovery of gems in Marange, De Beers is said to have looted the precious stones for nearly 15 years on the pretext that they were under an exploration exercise.

The samples are reported to have been taken to Europe and the United States between 1995 and 2005.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe Diamond Conference here in Victoria Falls yesterday, Mines and Mining Development Minister Dr Obert Mpofu said it was high time the De Beers company was dragged before the courts.

"We are going to sue De Beers. They looted our gems on the pretext that they were under an exploration exercise and if you look at this, one can easily note that these gems are worth billions of dollars.

"My office is currently finalising on a raft of measures so that we can take them to the courts. A team of legal experts will soon be set and De Beers has to answer before the courts because these are the same players that have been soiling Zimbabwe's gems on the international market," said Dr Mpofu.

Dr Mpofu could not divulge where and when De Beers was going to be brought before the courts to face charges of violating the country's Minerals Act.

De Beers has previously denied the allegations.

De Beers was charged with exploring the Chiadzwa diamond fields in 1990. It later pulled out of the area after Government instituted an investigation into its operations.

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