Zimbabwe expects to produce 2.5 million carats of diamonds this year after acquiring equipment for its state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company but legal challenges remain over its move to nationalise diamonds fields in the east of the country.
President Robert Mugabe’s government shut down seven mining firms operating in the Marange fields last year, consolidating their assets and operations into ZCDC.
At least two of the closed mines, China’s Anjin and Mbada Diamonds, which government wanted to take up 50 percent shareholding in ZCDC, are contesting the asset seizure in the Constitutional Court while a third, Jinan, pulled out of the country in April this year.
In May this year, the miner received equipment worth $32 million from Belarus.
Mines and Minerals Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa told the National Assembly on Thursday that ZCDC had produced 1, 039, 925 carats in the five and a half months to June 18 2017, against 961, 000 carats produced in the whole of 2016.
“The operations of ZCDC are based on Special Grant Number 6026, which was issued to it by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development on 22 February, 2016. The special grant covers an area of approximately 795,800 hectares in the mining district of Manicaland, vests mineral rights on ZCDC and allows ZCDC to carry out mining operations for diamonds and alluvial gold. The special grant is valid for 36 months and is renewable every 36 months,” said Chidhakwa.
ZCDC has transformed its diamond mining model from an alluvial based model adopted by most of the former miners to a conglomerate mining business model which requires more intensive investment to unlock significant and sustainable diamond value, he added.
“ZCDC’s future is premised on sustainable conglomerate mining with probable resource estimates totalling 16.8 million tonnes of diamond ferrous ore in portals A and B (ex-Mbada and ex-Marange respectively) having been identified and earmarked for mining. Another 21.8 million tonnes of conglomerate ore resource to be mined from Portal E, which is ex-DTZ, while DTZ OZGEO claims this resource to be proven, and ZCDC geologists are yet to confirm this assertion. So that is the 21.8 tonnes of conglomerate material.”
The company is currently said to be mining on three concessions, Portal A, B and E, the former Mbada, Marange and DTZ-OZGEO concessions.
“We have already mined one million carats that are sitting with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as collateral security for the loan financing that we have received from the (central bank),” said Chidhakwa.-The Source