The Government of Zimbabwe lost a three year long legal battle with African Consolidated Resources (ACR) Plc , a British registered company for the control of the Marange diamond fields. The High Court ruling which was issued on Thursday is considered to be a landmark ruling.
The ruling could have serious implications for the government that has been mining and selling the diamonds from the Chiadzwa area in Marange. ACR filed the case in 2006 when the government seized the mining fields approximately one year after issuing mining rights to the company, stating that the mining of precious stones should be undertaken by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC). This move however resulted in an increase in illegal mining activity as the army, police and government officials joined the illegal panners.
The mass scale illegal mining and violence reached a level that necessitated the Kimberley Process to investigate how diamonds are mined in Zimbabwe.
According to the Standard Zimbabwe, high court Judge Justice Charles Hungwe ordered that the ZMDC should stop its mining activities and directed the government to restore ACR’s rights to mine in the area.
Hungwe also ordered that the Minerals and Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) should return to ACR all diamonds mined seized from the company and also all precious stones bought from the ZMDC that were mined on ACR’s claims.
ACR issued a statement on Friday saying “Following the group’s success in the Zimbabwe High Court, the group remains committed to dialogue with the Zimbabwe government, with a view to establishment of a joint venture which will operate for the benefit of both the company and the people of Zimbabwe.”