Zimbabwe Plans to Nationalise Diamond Industry

 

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's 92-year old president, has announced that the African country will nationalise its diamond mining industry. Mugabe has accused foreign mining companies of stealing billions of dollars in revenue. A government -based department will now take control of the country's diamond mines because foreign companies cannot be trusted with giving Zimbabwe its fair share of profits.

Zimbabwe is one of the world's largest diamond producers and the eighth largest exporter of diamonds. The country's largest mine , the Marange fields,  produces about 10% of the world's diamonds. Mining diamonds, and other minerals, such as platinum and chrome is by far the largest source of income for the poor African country.

In the last few years Zimbabwe has only received about $2 billion out of the industry's estimated profits of $15 billion. Now, the government has ordered foreign mining companies to stop their production and leave the mines immediately.

Foreign mining companies that operate in Zimbabwe have gone to court to protest and fight against Mugabe's decision. Nationalising  mines will especially hurt China, which has  invested billions in the mining industry. Foreign mining companies cannot operate alone in Zimbabwe but together with local companies.

 

Mining experts are not sure whether Zimbabwe can produce its diamonds without foreign help. They lack the capital and technology to do so effectively.  On the other side the country's economy has been struggling for many years. Foreign companies are not willing to invest any more because of Zimbabwe's unstable political situation. Robert Mugabe has ruled the country for three and a half decades and has left no doubt that he is still in control.

 

Diamond inside a rock

Rough diamond inside rock

 

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Words

  • accuse = to say that someone has committed a crime or something else that is wrong
  • announce = to say something in public
  • billion = a thousand million
  • by far = much more than anything else
  • capital = money
  • chrome = type of hard, shiny metal
  • court = place where arguments are decided and trials are held
  • decade = ten years
  • decision = choice that you have made after thinking about something
  • economy = system by which a country's money and goods are produced and used
  • effectively = in a successful way
  • especially = above all
  • estimated = to judge the value of something without calculating it exactly
  • fair share = what you deserve
  • foreign = from another country
  • government-based = run by the government
  • immediately = at once
  • lack = not have enough of
  • mineral = valuable rock found in the  ground
  • mining = digging valuable minerals out of the Earth
  • nationalise = the government takes control of an industry
  • no doubt = to be absolutely sure of something
  • operate = work
  • platinum = silver-grey metal that does not change its colour; it is used in the industry and for making expensive jewellery
  • profit = the money you make by doing business
  • receive = get
  • revenue = income
  • rule = to be in power; govern
  • source of income = here: industry from where a country's money comes
  • struggle = to try really hard to do something
  • trust = to believe that someone is honest or will not do anything against your will
  • unstable = likely to change and suddenly become worse
  • whether = if