Zimbabwe Nationalises Diamond Mining

Zimbabwe is planning to merge all diamond mining companies, including the local unit of Rio Tinto, into one big firm in which the state will own 50% of the shares, the minister of mines said on Thursday. President Robert Mugabe’s government is pursuing a black economic empowerment programme, known locally as indigenisation that requires foreign-owned companies, including mines, to sell 51 percent of their shares to black Zimbabweans.

The government had previously said it wanted to merge some of the diamond companies operating in the Marange area to the east of the southern African country, in which it already owns half the shares, to enhance transparency. But mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa told a committee of parliament that all the mines would be merged, including Rio Tinto’s Murowa diamond mine in south-central Zimbabwe.