Zimbabwe Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu has publicly assured members of the country's military and police that they would be granted mineral licenses should they apply for gold, platinum and diamond concessions.
In an address last Friday during a parade honoring prison officers on the outskirts of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city, Mpofu reportedly urged officers in the country's security structures, including the police, the army and the air force, to apply for mining licenses, saying he is ready to grant them concessions anytime to ensure the safeguarding of the country's minerals, reports Radio VOP.
"These are the people who are protecting our resources. They are the people who made it possible to repossess what the colonisers took away from us," Mpofu said in his address, as quoted by the news source. "Security forces should not be apologetic to seek mining claims. In any case, where in our statutes does it say that security forces should not participate in the economy," the report cites the minister as saying.
The statement by Mpofu follows recent media reports asserting that, according to Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire, an army-owned company, the Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI), holds a 40 percent stake in the Chinese diamond mine, Anjin, currently operating in Marange.