Zimbabwe’s top mining official said Sunday there were reports of new diamond discoveries in several parts of the country.
Mines Minister Obert Mpofu said there were reports of new diamond discoveries in three other provinces in the country, but did not give details, merely saying government was moving on the sites to secure them and prospect.
The country discovered a huge diamond field, by some estimates the biggest in th e world, a few years ago in the eastern province of Manicaland.
The government started mining at the field last year in partnership with two for eign companies, but the West wants Zimbabwe to be banned from selling the gems over alleged human rights abuses.
The authorities have announced plans to set up a national mineral exploration ag ency as part of the government’s drive to become a key player in the industry.
”As government, we have very little knowledge of the country’s mineral wealth a s the exploration has generally remained the domain of large mining companies due to large sums of money required to explore and the high risk,” Mpofu said.
Under new economic empowerment laws, foreign investors are restricted to 49 perc ent shareholding in mining ventures.
One of the new sites reported to hold diamond deposits is close to the border wi th Botswana, one of the world’s top producers of the precious mineral.