The Sunday Mail
CONGLOMERATE mining production at the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (Pvt) Ltd’s (ZCDC) Chiadzwa diamond fields is set to register a 42 percent rise with current output now standing at over 100 000 carats.
The state mining entity has been shifting to Conglomerate mining due to the continued depletion of alluvial deposits which were first mined in Marange in 2006.
In line with its Diamond Mining Business Model (DMBM) the state-owned mining entity last year invested in a 450 tonne per hour conglomerate processing plant to be installed at Portals (A & B) at a total cost of $20 million.
Latest figures availed to this publication show that as at March 15, the state miner has produced 526 734 carats from its conglomerate operations compared to 422 518 carats in the first quarter of 2017 and is in line to meet its 600 000 carats target for the 2018 first quarter.
In an interview, ZCDC Chief Executive Officer Dr Moris Mpofu said the company is confident of registering a 42 percent jump at the end of the first quarter and get to 3 million carats at the end of the year compared to the 1,7 million carats produced last year.
“Compared to the first quarter of 2017, ZCDC has managed to surpass its production (in) the first two months of 2018,” said Dr Mpofu.
“It is projected that by the end of the first quarter of 2018, ZCDC will have produced 600,000 carats.
“ZCDC produced 1, 8 million carats in 2017 surpassing its 2016 production of 961 000 (and) in 2018 the company is targeting to produce 3 million carats as it moves to take its place among the top diamond producers in the world,” he said.
Dr Mpofu said the mining entity had also invested in its earth moving capacity to match its $20 million conglomerate equipment and expectation is this will be launched in the second quarter of the current year.
“ZCDC has also invested in earth moving capacity to match the conglomerate plant, the fleet which comprises of 52 pieces of new equipment which will bring total equipment pieces to 106 pieces.
“The earth moving pieces will be commissioned together with the conglomerate plant in the second quarter of 2018,” he said.
ZCDC has been piling its produce after taking a deliberate policy to temporarily exit the market after realising the diamonds were being undervalued due to inefficiencies and bottlenecks in the downstream Diamond Value Management processes.
However, last month it held its first local auction which raked in above Government’s reserve price of $620 631 with one special stone fetching $1 888.
Speaking after the auction on February 22, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando (pictured below) told journalists Government was “happy” with returns from the sale.
“It was encouraging to note that the test sale realised a value of US$829 067 against a set reserve value of US$620 631 implying that the bids were above reserve value by over 30 percent,” said Minister Chitando.
“For example, one special stone fetched US$1 888 per carat. Government is encouraged with the fact that the diamond world is fully aware that Zimbabwe is back on the market.
“Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company are now working on a sales calendar so that diamond buyers will plan in advance and participate regularly in our auction sales,” he said.