Diamond production in the Chidzwa area of Marange in Manicaland province in eastern Zimbabwe has plummeted from 3.2 million carats last year to slightly below a million carats this year, says Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa.

He told the Parliamentary Committee on Mines and Energy here Monday that disruptions caused by the consolidation process at the Marange fields, which also resulted in legal battles, had slowed down diamond production.

"Out of the seven companies that were operating, we are only mining in two areas, that of the former Marange Diamonds and Diamond Mining Corporation with who we have agreements," the Minister said.

"So far they have delivered as ZCDC (Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company) in weight a total of 924,388 carats. And that compares very badly with 2015 which is 3.2 million carats. So if you compare, the 2016 figure is lower but the explanation is that this year's (production) is coming from two mining locations not from the previous seven mining locations.

"And we have just finalised discussions with the Russians so that we also take over that territory because they also did not go to court."

Chidhakwa said the court cases had been completed but there were other issues stopping ZCDC from possessing the other five mining concessions.

"We need to finalise the court cases. I have just not been doing these issues through the courts. I have also been discussing with the various embassies so that we sort out a diplomatic solution out of this situation," he said.

Zimbabwe extracts alluvial diamonds mainly from the vast Marange fields, but these are fast depleting. Early this year, Zimbabwe started consolidating diamond mining operations into one company, the ZCDC, in which the government became the major shareholder with 50 per cent, while private firms which previously owned the ventures share the remaining 50 per cent.

Presenting the mid-term fiscal policy review, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa attributed the poor performance of Marange diamonds fields to various factors, chiefly disruptions caused by the consolidation process.