By John Chimunhu|
Hundreds of Zimbabwean mine workers have been rendered jobless after global resources giant Rio Tinto shut down its Murowa diamond mine on Tuesday to protest nationalization by president Robert Mugabe’s government.
The government recently seized control of all diamonds in the country and then invited private companies to participate as minority shareholders. Rio Tinto shareholders, who own 78 percent of Murowa Diamonds rejected this arrangement and opted to sell the mine. The government has indicated it will take over the mine and probably reopen it after two monts.
Murowa diamonds production grew by 7 percent in 2014.
Sources at the mine in Zvishavane said only maintenance staff would remain after March 31.
Major contractors such as KW Blasting and Boldgas were seen packing their things and leaving.
The government says it nationalized diamond mining to stop looting. However, critics say Mugabe wants to exchange the diamonds for weapons and training from the Chinese Red Army.
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