Phillimon Mhlanga in Victoria Falls
VICTORIA FALLS – The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) plans to increase production of diamonds by 488 percent to 10 million carats in the next five years from 1,7 million carats produced last year.
To hit that target, Morris Mpofu, the ZCDC chief executive officer told delegates attending the on-going Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) conference the company will set aside an investment envelope of about $400 million.
The yellow metal target, he highlighted, will place Zimbabwe as one of the top five rough diamond producers in the world.
“(Our) business strategy is part of corporate entrepreurship, enterprise development and sustainable business growth to create the necessary mineable diamond resource and achieve diamond production levels of 10 million carats per year from 2022,” Mpofu said.
“He added: “This will place Zimbabwe on the top five world rough diamond producers. This year, ZCDC has a strategic intent to grow its production to three million carats from 1,7 million carats produced last year.”
Mpofu disclosed that the company would invest about $400 million into its operations by 2025.
“ZCDC has its vision 2025, which is aimed at investing a total of $400 million from 2018 to 2025 to build the necessary capacity across the entire diamond value chain from exploration, mining, processing and diamond value management,” Mpofu said.
Mpofu said there was need to invest in exploration. Zimbabwe has not carried out comprehensive exploration to determine the extent of diamonds in the country.
Exploration, which helps the country with geological data, is the most important part of the mining cycle, a process through which commercial concentrations of resources are discovered. It covers activities from preliminary collection of existing geological data to drilling and sample assays.
The Business Times understands that ZCDC, which plans to carryout diamond exploration in Mutare district, has since engaged the Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study for the diamond exploration project at Mutare Rural District Portal Q, an area which was previously mined by Diamond Mining Company (DMC).
“What we need to do is to invest in exploration and bring out the resource’s potential to generate the much needed resources for the country,” Mpofu said.
“Diamonds are a low volume and high value resource, but have a significant macroeconomic bearing for the country such as helping the country generate the much needed foreign currency, fiscal revenue contribution and infrastructure development,” he added.
ZCDC, a State-owned diamond entity which currently contributes about 75 percent of the country’s diamond production, gained control of all diamond concessions in Chiadzwa, a ward in Mutare District two years ago.
There were several companies mining diamonds in Chiadzwa, including Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Anjin Investments (which was jointly owned by the Chinese military and their Zimbabwean counterparts), DMC, Jinan, Rera, Kusena and Gye Nyame.
The diamond mining companies had, however, hit a hard rock and alluvial deposits had been depleted.
Now, ZCDC, plans to extract conglomerate diamonds.
The consolidated diamond mining company’s method has already started paying dividends and expects a continuous improvement by the coming of more machinery.
Mpofu said more underground mining equipment was coming to intensify the conglomerate mining, which will sustain mining for long life span.