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diamonds running out
Mzumara, The Financial Gazette
November 07, 2013
and quantity of diamonds mined at the controversial
Chiadzwa diamond fields has been on a decline since 2012, casting
doubts over the possibility of the diamonds sector bailing the country
out of the current quagmire. While many have held their breath on
the hope that the country’s diamonds would take Zimbabwe out
of the woods, the Financial Gazette can reveal that currently the
diamond producers themselves need bailing out to enable them to
acquire the equipment needed to mine the gems underground.
claims that the diamond fortunes are still as glittering as before,
the Financial Gazette is reliably informed that the shine has been
waning since last year because the alluvial (surface) diamonds are
fast running out at the Chiadzwa minefields.
is now insignificant diamonds in the alluvial ore, the little that
is found is of poor quality than before.
is hope that economic grade diamond deposits exist underground,
the companies operating in Chiadzwa need equipment to get to the
gems, which is costly. As such, there is need for them to invest
in state-of-the art equipment for them to extract the gems below
the surface. The biggest challenge is that some of the companies
have no financial wherewithal to invest in the equipment. The country
got the most from diamonds in 2011 and thereafter production has
been on the decline in terms of quality and quantity, according
to the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), which has
an interest in all the companies operating in Chiadzwa.
In 2011, diamonds
were contributing to the fiscus between US$ 23 million to US$33
million a month.
contributions of such magnitude are not possible, but that is not
to say that it won’t happen again in the future. It can again.
Just that we were mining alluvial diamonds but now we need to mine
conglomerates. We have to go deeper and we need equipment for that.
We also need to expand and explore further. There is a lot of untapped
land and we need to establish what we have under the ground,”
said Florence Gowora, acting board chairperson for ZMDC.
is currently looking at ways to enable the diamond companies to
acquire capital to expand their operations so that we can unlock
the value we have underground. The future is bright for the mining
sector. We are focusing on how we can grow it (the sector).”
while it was nothing unusual for the nation to look at the diamond
sector expectantly, capitalisation challenges were affecting production
while the companies operating in Chiadzwa are also desperate to
plough back what they are earning into their operations. Mines and
Mining Development deputy minister, Fred Moyo was quoted recently
saying that surface ores have exhausted but expressed hope that
the country still has opportunities to explore further for more
naturally expected in mining that surface ores will exhaust first,
specifically for diamonds. It is important to note that the area
of Chiadzwa is not explored, really. We cannot exhaust deposit of
this nature with five years of operating… the diamond area
is not well explored, meaning we still have more of the surface
diamonds,” Moyo said.
to say much, Marange Diamonds corporate affairs manager, Muriel
Nqwababa, confirmed that surface gems were getting exhausted.
is the same as that of the deputy minister,” Nqwababa said.
the situation are poor prices being fetched on the international
market at a time when Zimbabwe is still trying to gain a foothold
on the mainstream market following years of bickering with the Kimberly
not been participating in the international space and prices of
our diamonds have also not picked up,” Gowora said, although
she expressed optimism that the recent mission to Zimbabwe by Antwerp
would result in better fortunes for the local diamond industry.
“Antwerp is promising to get better value for Zimbabwe,”
Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Walter Chidhakwa has said
that government is mulling options for an international bond to
be used to raise money for development of the country’s mining
yet to meet with Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa to devise
a plan for the bonds within a month’s time.
billed as the fourth largest diamond producer in the world.
total diamond production from Marange increased from 8,7 million
carats in 2011 to 12 million carats last year.
This year, production
is expected to rise further reaching over 17 million carats. But
for this to occur, capital and equipment are needed..
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