The Sunday Mail
STATE diamond mining firm, the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), will this year invest US$32 million in exploration projects to support a resource definition and expansion programme that is envisaged to anchor annual output to 4, 1 million carats up from 2, 8 million carats achieved last year.
The diamond miner has been registering steady output growth since consolidation from just under one million carats in 2016, 1, 7 million carats in 2017 to 2, 8 million carats in 2018.
2018 also saw the miner invoicing US$47 million from diamond sales after resuming auctions having previously exited the market in a bid to polish bottlenecks in its marketing strategies and will continue with periodic tenders in 2019 for both current and accumulated stock.
To anchor its expansion drive, the state miner will this year extensively expand its operations beyond the Chiadzwa deposits to the Save River floor, Odzi river as well as focusing on the reopening of dormant mines both in Chiadzwa and in other parts of the country.
“The reopening of dormant mines both in Chiadzwa and in other parts of the country is expected to complement ZCDC’s existing capacity and position the company to achieve its target of 4, 1 million carats for 2019,” ZCDC Chief Executive Officer Dr Moris Mpofu told The Sunday Mail Business.
“In 2019, ZCDC will invest a total of $32 million in exploration projects to support the resource definition and expansion programme.
“Future exploration plans on Chiadzwa on the alluvial deposit involve bulk sampling planned throughout the existing Special Grant for alluvials, dredging of Save River floor, evaluation of the Save and Odzi rivers confluences.
“Conglomerate exploration work will involve planned 50 000 metre drilling for conglomerate evaluation. Kimberlite exploration programs for 2019 include, geophysics, trenching, mapping and bulk sampling,” he said.
All this, is part of the diamond miner’s 2025 target by which it envisages to be hauling at least 10 million carats per year on the back of an accumulative US$400 million investment.
To date, ZCDC has already invested US$100 million towards exploration and mining capacity and recently saw the commissioning of a 450 Tonne Per Hour (TPH) Conglomerate plant by President Mnangagwa.
The plant has the capacity to produce up to 300 000 carats per month and this was augmented by the arrival of additional pieces of earth moving equipment from Belarus and excavators from South Africa.
The recently approved diamond policy which liberalised the diamond mining sector is also expected to see the coming in of investment and strategic partnerships which are expected to further enhance ZCDC’s capacity.
The recently adopted policy gives ZCDC, Murowa Diamonds and two other companies to be approved by Government exclusive rights to undertake diamond exploration and mining in the country.
Any other entity or person wishing to do diamond mining is expected to approach either of the quartet for joint ventures and this places ZCDC at a strategic advantage.
“The recently announced diamond policy will see ZCDC forming strategic partnerships with established diamond mining companies in a bid to enhance capacity in diamond mining in a responsible, accountable, transparent and efficient manner which safe guards the country’s interests,” said Dr Mpofu.
ZCDC’s expansion plans are part of Government’s target to grow earnings from the mining sector to US$12 billion by 2023.
In addition to diamonds, the platinum sector is expected to play a major role as both Mimosa and Unki have submitted expansion plans to Government.
Karo Resources is also coming on board and is expected to be the country’s largest platinum producer by 2024.