Diamond miners hit hard rock


Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa being shown Diamond Mining Company (DMC) mining equipment in Chiadzwa by the head of department Ettrene Heyns

Lloyd Gumbo recently  in CHIADZWA
Companies mining diamonds in Chiadzwa claim they have hit a hard rock and that alluvial deposits of the precious stone are fast running out, while extracting deep conglomerate gems is not commercially viable.To that end, they say they want further allocations of untapped diamond fields, promising to revert to current claims when they get efficient technology.

Officials at the companies made the claims during a familiarisation tour of the diamond mines by Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa last week.

There are seven companies licensed to mine diamonds in Chiadzwa – Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Anjin Investments, Diamond Mining Company, Jinan, Kusena and Gye Nyame.

However, they have come under fire from Government officials and analysts who question the business methods in operation and the sincerity of management of some of these firms.

Minister Chidhakwa said miners must balance alluvial and conglomerate operations, and that they should have planned for this from the word go.

Furthermore, Minister Chidhakwa read the riot act to miners who were not paying dividends to Government on time, and further castigated them for not contributing more meaningfully to Zimbabwe’s development.

According to the Diamond Facts website, alluvial diamonds are gems that are mainly found on the surface (eg in sand, gravel and clay) as a result of natural erosive action.

Small scale miners can use basic equipment like sieves, shovels and pans to dig up alluvial diamonds.  On the other hand, diamondconsultants.ca defines conglomerate diamonds as a rock consisting of individual stones (larger than sand) that have been cemented together and require highly mechanised machinery to extract.

In short, conglomerate diamonds are embedded in layers of rock, while alluvial gems are surface level and require less specialist equipment to dig up.

An analyst told this paper that the mining houses should have been investing revenues from alluvial mining in equipment to venture into conglomerate mining.

Anjin director Mr Munyaradzi Machacha said, “The challenge we are facing at the moment is that we are operating at below break-even point.

“Our ore is much deeper to depths of about 40 metres and some of the areas we have had to abandon mining because it was no longer commercially viable.”

Mr Machacha said their current challenge was identifying areas they could mine using existing machinery while exploring and re-adjusting their mining plan to find more cost-effective methods to extract conglomerates.

He said they wanted to be immediately allocated new mining claims “with resources” for them to continue operating. In essence, Anjin would like Government to allocate it more – and rich – alluvial concessions with the state hoping that this time around more revenues will be committed to infrastructure and equipment.

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Minister Chidhakwa responded to the request saying: “From an economics point of view, it tells me that when you do that you will be balancing your costs hopefully some of them are being offset by alluvial.

“But even alluvial itself, you can’t keep getting the same grade. There are other spots where you find them in huge deposits and you should use that opportunity to capitalise and support the conglomerate.”

At Jinan, officials said the main resource at their claim was alluvial but that the grade was not commercially viable to extract.
“From 2012, the mined alluvial ore is about 2,4 million tonnes and the remainder is about 1,28 million tonnes. The remaining alluvial deposits cannot last at this mine for a long time,” said Jinan managing director Mr Ni Jun, through an interpreter.

Jinan chief mining operations officer, Mr Liu Jitat, added that conglomerate gems were too expensive to extract.
“We can see that the current mining area of the embedded depth of the conglomerate is already over 30 metres. But unfortunately, the conglomerate thickness is not very good. It is only 0,5 to 0,7 metres. The average grade is about 0,4 to 0,5 carats per tonne.

“So from this side, the grade is decreasing. On the other side which is the boundary with Mbada (Diamonds) the grade is 0,8 to one carat per tonne,” he said.

Minister Chidhakwa said if that was the case, then Jinan should surrender the claim to Government and institute processes to get another one.

Mr Ni said they would first draw a geological report for Government’s perusal before initiating any further processes in that regard.
Mbada Diamonds chief operations officer, Mr Tendai Kadyamusuma, said they were digging for both conglomerate and alluvial stones.

“Currently, we are exploiting low grade material compared to when we started. We have deep-seated conglomerate making it difficult to extract,” he said.

While touring Marange Resources, Minister Chidhakwa was livid that the miner was not declaring expected dividends to Government while under-investing in the country.

“You are 100 percent owned by Government and the expectations on you are much bigger than the expectations on anybody else in which we have 50 percent shares,” he said in reference to other diamond mining operations that are run as public-private partnerships.

“There are specific expectations on Marange Resources. Ko tinombowana dividend here (do we ever get a dividend from you)?
“I meet so many Zimbabweans who say to me why are we not getting what is due to us from Marange Resources where we don’t share with anyone else?”

He said Marange Resources was duty-bound to contribute to Treasury so that Government could meet its commitments, including paying civil servants a decent salary.

Minister Chidhakwa took a swipe at companies that were not investing in Zimbabwe to demonstrate their commitment to doing business in the country.

“We were almost involved in an accident because of the poor state of your roads. It only shows your fly-by night attitude. That ‘we are just coming to take and don’t care what we leave behind’.

“That is not the attitude I want to see from the mining sector. I have told everybody including those that are in the platinum sector. We want someone who can show us that if their reserve says they can stay here for 50 years, demonstrate that to us by giving us a 34-storey building in Harare or Mutare.

“That is how they built Sandton (in Johannesburg, South Africa),” said Minister Chidhakwa.
Last week, it emerged that mining companies banked just three percent of their billion dollar export revenues locally, thereby contributing to the liquidity crunch the country faces.

Last year, mines accounted for US$2 billion of Zimbabwe’s US$3,3 billion worth of exports, meaning much of the money made from exploiting the country’s resources contributed more to other economies as most of the money was not banked here.

Government has also taken a tough stance on minerals beneficiation, saying – in particular – platinum, diamonds and chrome must be processed locally.

This means mining houses must build local capacity and invest in infrastructure instead of exporting raw minerals that are then bought back by Zimbabweans as high value, processed imports.

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    Moving in the right direction.. Chidhakwa is truly hitting the ground running.

  • Munhumutema

    Chidhakwa was a good choice for this sector. All the best honourable minister.

  • Skyview

    Vakutopedza kumora uchi (diamonds) takatarisa! Diamonds almost finished, money externalised. No money to government. No development for the local community.Leaving behind land degradation & social upheaval……

    • Gudo rotamba Kongonya

      The government should take the blame in all this fiasco. How can you parcel claims like A1 or A2 farms without proper due diligence. As a result the said companies were only interested in milking the resource and make a quick buck of the little exploration work carried out by De Beers. I wonder who will have the last laugh in this situation. Worse still the citizens of this country have so far not benefited from these diamonds.

  • Umafavuke

    These mines for them to say it’s expensive to extract the conglomerate diamonds is hogwash. De Beers all over extracts the same kind of diamond and are making billions. Why I am getting from this is that they do not want to invest in this economy but just seek another alluvial claim which does not need that much investment. Once all the diamonds are gone, off they go to another one, which is insane.

    • Wolves Witches and Giants

      That is true and De Beers has just started the Venetia Underground Project pa Border pa Musina apa. Its huge. They are building houses for the Miners, they are expanding their anemities and the Chinese can not even construct a road and furthermore they want more easy to access diamonds.

      They can’t even invest on what they generate and guess what, our govt will willingly give them more as long as they get a Mercedes, a prostitute for the night and a house.

      What is the job of the CIO. Should they not investigate how other neighboring countries structure their diamond industries i.e Botswana and RSA and how they are profitable. We take what is good, throw what is bad and adjust to our own needs.

      We are in trouble.

  • PhronesisMakomborero

    I like the attitude Cde Minister, we need meaningful development in the sector and I concurr We should have something to show for it, mining companies need to commit to developing our country. I would suggest that as a requirement mining companies should submit to your office their developmental plans with timelines- that way you can follow up and hold them to it

    • Japana Hapana

      The same minister and his friends are half the mining companies. Just going round and round in circles my friend.

      • PhronesisMakomborero

        Am not sure what you are referring to because he’s only been Minister for 4months so he couldn’t have managed to own half the mining companies. Maybe you have some evidence or some knowledge I am not aware of and I hope it’s certainly not speculative

  • sobermind

    Well done minister, thats the kind of attitude we want. Roads and infrastracture ngava gadzire, kwete kungo. looter and not giving back to the community

  • Collin

    So much for asking the Chinese to invest in our country, these guys only want easy buck & they’re out of here leaving behind wasted land & water resources, and afterall, they are also except from this indigenisation thing. But luckily God is on our side, he does not want this precious resource going to waste without his true children benefiting from it, so he’s leaving some behind for us, hahaha

  • Mimi

    Cde Munyaradzi Machacha should stop being a nuisance. Everyone knows that mining companies are supposed to have Engineers who are supposed to know where deposits are well in advance and not wait until it is too late. Anjin should not just want to be allocated more mining deposits before Zimbabweans have even seen the benefits of what they have reaped so far. Chirudzii nhai Comrade??


    That’s why DeBeers did not have interests in mining diamonds in Marange and instead opted for Botswana diamonds. The reason is that the reserves are not economic and are merely of industrial grade.

  • Ronald Ncube

    Trouble in Paradise.( so what was Obert doing )

    • Skyview

      He was picking the alluvial diamonds!

  • Nyandoro

    Beware Minister Chidhakwa these people might be taking our diamonds and claim that they are running out like what happened at BHP Mine. Let us be very careful and watch very closely.

    • Valour Museyamwa

      Kana vaona kuti apera they should go away and get out no more claims for them cde Chidhakwa. There is nothing to show that they contributed to this country. Their nearest town Mutare has roads full of potholes, unending water problems. Aerodrome yavanomhara nendege is in a sorry state, but they do not care. Let us get better companies who have this country at heart.

  • Dzidzai

    “Government has also taken a tough stance on minerals beneficiation, saying – in particular – platinum, diamonds and chrome must be processed locally.This means mining houses must build local capacity and invest in infrastructure instead of exporting raw minerals that are then bought back by Zimbabweans as high value, processed imports. ” THE SAME MUST BE FOR TOBACCO INDUSTRY. WE ARE LOSING TO FOREIGN BUYERS. HAPOKA VAMADE, ITAYI ZVIRIKUITA VAMWE.

  • Japana Hapana

    Ndaneta nazvo izvi zve Zimbabwe. I bet you, after all the mining all these guys will leave behind is just holes! They are in Chiadzwa to get the diamonds and hit the road. No infrastructural development whatsoever. I bet you the majority of the money made in Chiadzwa is already sitting silently in Beijing, or Zurich or London, whilst the Manicas themselves are wallowing in poverty. No community ownership schemes because its chinese and fat cats involved. No accountability. Inini chi govt ichi handizivi kuti ndochiita seyi. If this was some progressive country, by now Chidzwa could have been a thriving city like Kimberley or Rusternburg. Just because the place is in Zim, it will remain a hell hol because of.heartless leaders who invite investers they parter to LOOT.

  • Mhondoro

    I think the minster hit the nail on the head. These guys in Chiadzwa are definitely exhibiting a fly by night attitude. You get a diamond claim, let’s say 10 000 hectares, you zero in on the section with alluvial deposits, take out everything and don’t bother to reinvest in further exploration or plan for life after alluvial. When you get to the conglomerate as they call it, which by the way is the common type of diamond deposit in most parts of the world, then you cry foul. You then have the temerity to go to government to say ah can I have another 10 000 hectares please. So you can repeat the same process. If Rio Tinto is still in this country mining conglomerate diamonds at Murowa why can’t these guys do the same. The existence of alluvial diamonds which are easier to mine was actually a blessing for serious miners as it presented them with an opportunity to raise funds to fully capitalize their mines so as to exploit the conglomerate diamonds.

    These guys have had their run, there is a queue of other Zimbabweans who also want exposure to diamond mining and I think the minister has to give these new guys a chance. Current miners in Marange have not done enough to warrant getting more mining grants. Give others a chance, those who think it’s no longer commercially viable, well it’s business, it’s that point that you shut shop the way others are doing in industry. Hand over the claim back to government and let those with the technology to mine conglomerate diamonds get a chance.

    • Wolves Witches and Giants

      Good points raised, However giving these guys a chance is further shooting ourselves in the foot. The externalize, no investigations. They expolit we turn a blind eye. Suffering continues.

    • MAMOYO

      wakuma murume, that is the truth. We can do better with miners who want to invest into our economy, better our peoples’ live

  • samaz

    These miners are there to loot. What they want is to mine the diamonds cheaply, wipe out all the alluvial reserves and leave. True investors are seen by going for the deep deposits. WAKE UP ZIMBABWE

  • cde100

    Something is wrong here!
    First you issue mining licences to those companies, then accuse them of not paying dividents and not sending revenues to treasury??????? This is blindness!!!
    What are the terms of issue of those mining licences?????
    If your licences do not specify those terms, why bother them???
    Let them milk Chiadzwa until nothing is left.
    We dont deserve even a carat of diamond, till we show some degree of civilisation and good governance.
    Let those companies and their families benefit.
    Let them send their children to private schools outside the country and buy their school going children open top german cars.
    Let them build themselves mansions with prestine swimming pools and bank with Swiss institutions incase the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe convert their us dollars to Zimdollar willy nilly.
    Let them live large – you can always get your food parcels.

  • Gamuchirai

    Thank you Minister Chidhakwa but I feel its already too late Mpofu destroyed everything before you came. Its a sorry story for Zimbabwe. Anyway just try to salvage what has remained which I think is now very insignificant to build even a seven roomed house.

  • Bill

    Lol! So what was the expectation? That one would mine diamonds using a pik and a shovel forever and a day?

  • ndodahondo2

    Only minister to say sensible thing so far

  • Zvapera

    Rimwe zuwa ndiri paNyanyadzi pawa ndakaona hutsi hunenge bukuta ndikabvunza kuti kasi kune mwoto. Mwinduro yakandifendesa. Vakati izvo mugwagwa unoenda kuma diamond companies kunobva ma billions of dollars. Ukaona motokari dzacho unofunga kuti dzabva kufarm.

  • Mbanda

    You have actually cleared yourself because to be honest, people thought you were having the biggest share from these gems hence the question making rounds was: “who will guard the guard?” Our hope is that things are going to change for the better. We are tired of these problems and we cannot have all country with sectors going unchecked like Z.I.F.A.

  • Stanford

    Let me repeat this, “Minister Chidhakwa said if that was the case, then Jinan should surrender the claim to Government and institute processes to get another one”.

    Surely these aluvial diamonds were mined by poor communities that have since been relocated to arid areas that not supported financially by the alluvial resources. And all along I thought the so called diamond companies investited in heavy mine equipment such as crushers and so on. And all along thet have been extracting the cheap alluvial and abundant diamonds without even remitting to government.

    Chidhakwa, the answer to the miner’s requests should be a big NO. They should mine their claims until they exhaust the conglomerate gems before they can request for more claims. Instead, people that are poor shouldbe allowed to mine the alluvial diamonds in an oderly manner and be rewarded for that.

  • Mbada

    mbada,kkk mbada, kkkkk, mbada hope Mai Mujuru reads this

  • zimboy

    These diamonds never brought peace to this nations, we have showed a lack of capacity to handle and manage them. The country has not benefited anything and we will be left with huge unrehabilitated pits

  • Munoz weku Zviyambe

    In all honesty are these mining companies serious investors or mere makorokoza? Having alluvial diamonds is a very big blessing because they are easy to extract. An investment oriented miner should have done good investment minding that soon the alluvial diamonds would run out and they would need more advanced machinery to extract conglomerate diamonds. It will be against progress if these makorokoza companies are offered new diamond claims. If we are serious as a country about development and progress then we should get like minded investors kwete these fly by night makorokoza


    I like you attitude Minister – getting involved hands on. However I dont agree with your suggestion that they should surrender the claim and ask government for some more claim with alluvial diamond. A miner is different from gweja anoita mining yekungodyorera diamond. Anjin and others should actually invest in equipment and machinery not to want to get easy pickings. Infact all along they have been getting diamonds for next to nothing so its now time for them to go deeper and increase the costs of operation and strike a balance in terms of the cost of mining our diamonds. Ngavasakanganwa kuti vambodya zveuvete now nature is demanding their financial input for them to continue feeding from the resource.

    I suggest that those who are not happy with mining deeper should leave and you should partner with other investors who are ready to pay dividend to government.

    Pamberi nebasa minister, ngoda kuhurumende.

  • Garwe

    Chagona Minister ndachishaya, telling them what is expected of them and receiving from them what is expected from them are two different things, is there any benefit we are guaranteed to receive yet, NO, so whats to celebrate or salute the Minister, Mugabe will say a big NO NO NO to national benefit, ho many ministers are saying what you call sense and see no benefits, for how long had we been celebrating Diamonds and never gained from them, Do not be fooled, Biti had a good idea to NATIONALISE the resource but was turned down because he was from MDC T, but talking sense to be told by a national company that Diamond are running out or told by Chinese that without benefiting, what is the best???? ngavangopedza cause there were not meant for Zimbabweans but Chinese as they were given instead of us.

  • Chimsoro

    diamonds are forever!

  • kedu

    Ukaba vana vachiona ndiyo mhedzisiro yazvo, munonyadzisa, mari maka lotter

  • Cholly

    I worked at Murowa Diamonds for six years and when I left the pits were more than 45m deep. The grades were as low as 0.4 carats per ton as well. As I read about the Chiadzwa drama, that the miners cant go beyond 30m deep, when they had alluvial deposits, it shows me that the mining activity there is being done by incompetent pple and companies that are not sincere. Those companies also did not incur major exploration costs as compared to Murowa, which has has been declaring and submitting dividends to the government. The companies in Chiadzwa are largely Chinese, and Murowa is British. Does it then always follow that companies with British identity in them are always bad? At least comparing the two regions in this scenario?

    • Mariga

      Mining is a business and one has to declare the resource that he is mining. One cannot do a reconciliation of a resource which was never declared. It shows that no one knows where the kimberlite pipe is and thus no one knows its size and the grade. As long as you cannot guarantee that you will get something from your excavation, you would not dare put your money in the ground. That explains the lack of big investments in the Marange field. Yes diamonds were there in the field, but how many carats were present for someone to say they are finished. When you are defining a mining resource, you say we have a deposit here carrying 100 carats, and mining at a rate of 10 carats per year, we will take 10 years to exhaust it unless further exploration is done. You define your pit limit in order not to mine unnecessary staff. In simple terms it does not make business sense to sink more money to get less. What is required is extensive exploration to define resource and justify investment. Unfortunately exploration does not guarantee mineable resource hence it scares many. It is as good/bad as Njuga.

  • chivadye

    Regai rishaikwe diamond iri nekuti harina zvarakareva kwatiri isu venhamo.Dai rakatobvira kare kushaikwa takatofara nekuti homwe dzevakobvu ndidzo dzakangofuta dzoga.

  • coal digger

    Now that diamond is nowhere and will not contribute anything to the economy let us turn back the real value addition mining companies which we have neglected and these include our traditional Hwange Colliery which is the backbone of our energy and production industry. The minister must pay attention to Hwange Colliery’s plight and see to it that it prosper and the nation can be assured that it will definitely contribute meaningfully to stae coffers directy and indirectly.

  • Hlahla Hamburamatope

    My heart bleeds for my beloved country… are we such a gulilable country!! The first plantinum project in Chegutu should have provided a proactive governance lesson to the owners of our country, but alas, even our learned management have been badly corrupted, so corrupted that they have the balls to tell the Government that the mining capitalists are operating at a loss.. a loss my foot. The chenguta plantinum is reported to have benefited the capitalists platinum to last the for the next 100 yrs and in the process control the suplly mket. The opeckness in the operations at Chiadzwa is the Zanu’s worst enemy,, who is operating in Chianzwa? what quantinty are they producing per day, week or month or for the past donkey yrs they have been doing business. Whats laughable is why did the Government substuted the massese who were doing it with their hands..( aluvial) and bring in big machines.. which we thought would do the deeper and complex job if they cant do the job??

  • JZ

    we are a priviliged generation to whom this resource has been availed, make good use of current resource. leave untapped fields for future generations,

  • s shunba

    Its a great shame indeed
    The minister wants to give Anjin another 10,000 hectares if they surrender their current claim – for what. And what happens to hole that they leave behind. Why should another miner, with no good start, come and invest in lots of equip to extract “conglomerates” that the Chinese are dumping.
    And does the minister hope to get a better return from the Chinese on the next 10,000 hectares. I doubt
    We will rue the day that we invited these Chinese ahead of our old friends

  • PhronesisMakomborero

    Cde Minister if you are reading this am sure you can see some strong points coming forth. I have also come to realize and agree with a number of people here on this platform I.e Shumba, Mariga and the like. What happens to the land degradation after they reach the said 30m depth? Or even better still should they not then now invest in proper mining equipment and dig deeper to extract more diamonds? I don’t think dumping the old mine and applying for another one would be a solution. Someone brought another strong point, for the few years these mining companies have been in operation in terms of evaluation purposes how much have they mined ($) and how much have we benefited as a country? Please address these and more issues it’s not enough to lambast the mining companies lets talk figures