RioZim’s Chivi diamond venture hits snag



Listed resources group RioZim could have hit a hard rock in its exploration quest for diamonds in Chivi area of Masvingo after preliminary reports indicated that the precious stones were not commercially viable, it has been learnt.

Sources in the diamond mining industry say while there is an occurrence of diamonds in the area in question, viability of commercial mining is somewhat of a dream.

Apart from the complications arising from resource occurrence in the area, delays on the projects have also been witnessed due to foreign currency shortages. Foreign currency is key towards importation of latest exploration technology, payment of services and spares.

Efforts to get an official comment from RioZim CEO Bheki Nkomo were fruitless at the time of going to print as his mobile went unanswered. Moyo has previously ducked questions around the diamond exploration in Chivi.

Moyo earlier in April said the miner would within the month start exploration for diamonds on its 3 000-hectare piece of land in Chivi.

Nkomo at the time indicated a team of geologists was already clearing the land with new drilling equipment to be commissioned for the work. At the time, the company was also in negotiations with Government and local authorities for favourable conditions and additional land to ensure the new venture succeeds. RioZim currently produces diamonds from its 33 000 ha Murowa Diamonds where it found three kimberlitic pipes after seven years of exploration.

In its half year results for the period to June, RioZim chairman Lovemore Chihota said the company remains focused on increasing production through exploration and exploitation of opportunities across its operations.

In an update of diamond operations, Chihota said various initiatives had been put in place to build the Murowa Diamonds’ performance including rolling out a new mine plan and tripling the plant’s processing capacity.

Murowa Diamond’s revenue for the 6 months to June 2018, grew by 28 percent to $40,8 million from $32 million which was posted in June 2017. RioZim’s revenue for the half year grew 17 percent to $44,4 million from $37,8 million that was realised in the prior comparative period on the back of an 18 percent increase in gold sales’ volumes to 1 007kgs and a 5 percent increase in the gold selling price .

“An operating profit of $2,3million (2017: loss of $ 36 thousand) was recorded and the group’s share of profit from its associate grew up by 57 percent from $583 000 reported in 2017 to $913 thousand,” the group said.