Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
DIAMOND production is set to increase significantly as Anjin Investments is on the verge of starting gem extraction at Chiadzwa while Government is set to sign an agreement with Alrosa of Russia next week, in line with the diamond policy.
This was revealed by Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando in an interview with Star FM radio on Monday evening.
Increasing diamond output is in tandem with Government’s plan of turning the mining sector into a US$12 billion sector by 2023, and in line with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).
Under the 2023 mining plan, Government wants the diamond miners to haul 10 million carats.
Chinese firm Anjin and Alrosa, the world’s top diamond producer by volumes, join the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), which is already extracting diamonds in Chiadzwa, and the Zvishavane-based Murowa Diamonds.
Minister Chitando said in line with the diamond policy, four companies are allowed to undertake diamond production in the country and any other company that wishes to undertake diamond production will do so in a joint venture deal with Anjin and Alrosa.
“As part of the implementation of the diamond policy, Anjin are now back at the Chiadzwa area and right now as we talk they are on the verge of commencing production. By end of July there will be in full production and we will have a function to officially commission the new production,” said Minister Chitando.
“Then Alrosa, an agreement will be signed next week between Government and Alrosa, which is from Russia. They have already opened an office in Zimbabwe, which will be officially opened next week.
“So we now have two players which were not there at the beginning of the year and the whole objective is to unpack the diamond potential of this country and produce the target of 10 million carats by the year 2023.”
Minister Chitando said ZCDC was mining in Chiadzwa in terms of the law.
This was in response to enquiries that ZCDC could be in contempt of the Supreme Court, which dismissed its appeal against Mbada Diamonds, a former miner at Chiadzwa, which was challenging its removal from Marange.
“The ZCDC did not lose the case. The issue is (that) the ZCDC in terms of the reconstruction that took place, is there legally and there is absolutely no contempt of court as far as holding mining tittle (is concerned). It was passed on to ZCDC legally,” he said.
Turning to the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill which was returned to Parliament by President Mnangagwa after withholding his assent, Minister Chitando said there will be an all-stakeholders conference to establish how to accommodate the concerns of the Head of State and Government.
“Where we are is that on Wednesday, there is a retreat in Kariba where officials in the Ministry of Mines, and Attorney-General, Portfolio Committee of Mines and Mining Development; we are meeting specifically to look at issues raised by the President.
“Only after the deliberations will I be in a position to indicate the way forward in addressing the concerns raised by the President,” said Minister Chitando.
On Shabanie Mashava Mine, Minister Chitando said it was under reconstruction in terms of Reconstruction of State Indebted Companies and Insolvency Act and Government is looking for an investor.