Friday, March 30, 2012

US Blocks $20m Diamonds Deal

US blocks US$20m diamonds deal

Saturday, 31 March 2012 00:36
Zvamaida Murwira in Chiadzwa
Zimbabwe Herald

ANJIN Investment has lost a US$20 million business deal after a European diamond processing firm had its money to buy the diamonds from Anjin inter­cepted and frozen by the United States. This is part of intensified efforts by the US and the European Union to enforce the embargoes imposed on Zimbabwe as they feel the diamonds will bust the illegal sanctions.

Anjin Investments located at Chi­adzwa, Marange, lost the deal early this month, after Washington froze the Bel­gium based firm’s bank account.

Anjin Investment secretary, Mr Charles Tarumbwa, said this on Thurs­day while giving a briefing of the com­pany’s operations and challenges to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy, which is on a famil­iarisation visit at Chiadzwa.

“The good thing was that we had not released the diamonds as we waited for the money to come to Zimbabwe first. But the freezing of the money has an adverse effect on us because good and well paying diamond buyers are in Europe, so they become very hesitant to buy our gems in the wake of the freez­ing of the monies,” said Mr Tarumbwa.

The US and the EU imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe after the coun­try embarked on a land reform pro­gramme aimed at correcting historical imbalances on the resources where the minority white controlled vast tracts of land. The embargos have since been extended to some firms including dia­mond extracting firms such as Mbada Diamonds and Diamond Mining Cor­poration.

“There is need to have a smooth movement of money, otherwise we will continue to have challenges and this will affect the fiscus, our hospitals and other institutions.

“We will, however, not sell the Zim­babwean diamond like tomatoes, we will not accept ridiculous prices,” Mr Tarumbwa said.

He said the firm was producing around 3 000 carats a day, a slump from 10 000 that they used to produce owing to the fact that they were now mining underground, requiring heavy earth moving equipment and time consum­ing mining methods.

Committee chairperson and Guruve South MP, Cde Edward Chindori-Chininga (Zanu-PF), lauded Anjin and Marange Resources after they toured the two firms.

Cde Chindori-Chininga said Anjin’s investment had gone a long way in clearing a lot of misconceptions ped­dled about the firm which is a joint ven­ture between the Chinese and Zim­babwe.

“If you look at the type of investment, it clearly shows their commitment. A lot has been said about Anjin and as a committee we can now stand up and say this is not true,” said Cde Chindori-Chininga.

He applauded Marange Resources management for their openness.

“What we have seen here is very exciting. The real feeling is that you should not relegate yourself . . . you need to continue expanding yourself into a Zimbabwean owned conglomer­ate,” he said.

Meanwhile, the committee failed to hold a public hearing with villagers residing in the local area.

The meeting was aborted after it emerged that police had not sanctioned it. It was not immediately clear why authorities did not sanction the meet­ing.

Villagers who had gathered at Zen­geni business centre were later dis­persed.

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