A Zimbabwean High Court has ordered the government to steer clear of the diamond fields in Marange.
Judge Joseph Mafusire asked the government to allow the country’s largest diamond mining firm in Marange to return to its mines and take control of its assets there.
The order came a day after President Robert Mugabe said the government would take possession of all diamond operations.
The president had accused existing miners of robbing the country of its wealth.
The order, the second from the High Court Judge, also ordered the government to let security personnel from Mbada Diamonds have access to all the company’s assets in Marange.
Judge Mafusire made the same ruling on Monday, February 29, after Mbada challenged the decision by the Mines Minister to order companies in the diamond fields in the east to stop mining and leave because their licences had expired.
The court will on March 8 decide whether the companies can resume their mining operations.
Mbada and Chinese-run Anjin Investments have both challenged the government’s diamond mining ban.
Zimbabwe was the eighth largest diamond producer in the world in 2014 with 4.7 million carats, according to industry group the Kimberly Process.
The Marange diamond fields are an area of widespread small-scale diamond production. Although estimates of the reservers contained in this area vary, some have suggested it could be home to one of the world’s richest diamond deposits.
Some experts have described the fields as the biggest diamond (in carats) find in more than a century.