Zimbabwe needs time to assess the potential of the diamond industry before it lifts restrictions on diamond operations, a government official has said.
There are prospects of discovering diamonds in southern Masvingo.
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube recently told Bloomberg that the local ownership law would be scrapped for all minerals.
However, deputy mines minister Polite Kambamura said Harare would in the meantime continue insisting that local investors retain control in diamond mining until they are aware of the diamond industry prospects, let alone pass necessary the law.
“It has to be put down in legislation and the government is finalising that,” he said.
“It will happen very soon.”
Zimbabwe revised the empowerment law in March 2018, but limited majority ownership by locals and State-owned companies to only diamond and platinum mines.
Zimbabwe’s Chamber of Mines president Batirai Manhando said ownership restrictions on platinum group metals and diamond operations should be dropped.
“The indigenisation regulations have been scrapped except for platinum and diamonds, we would also want this law scrapped officially so we can get industry players coming in,” he was quoted by Bloomberg as saying at a conference in Johannesburg last week.
“These are areas that require huge capital and if you put restrictions I don’t think you would be able to attract a lot of capital.”
Russian diamond miner Alrosa, which was selected to partner a state diamond company, wants a majority stake to mine diamonds in Zimbabwe.
“Of course we’ll only be ready to participate in projects in cases where we can have management control and operational control of the assets,” Alrosa chief executive Sergey Ivanov said last month.
Alrosa, the biggest diamond producer by volume, was expanding in Africa, where Zimbabwe and Angola remain under-explored.