THE Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company will soon take delivery of $30 million equipment from Belarus to enable it to process kimberlite diamonds, chief executive Dr Reggie Nyashanu said last week.
The equipment is being acquired under a local facility arranged by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and is earmarked for upgrading and redesigning mining operations. It is part of several loans Zimbabwe is getting from Belarus to support productive sectors. Dr Nyashanu said the redesigning and upgrading of the equipment would involve installation of additional equipment that will enable the company to process kimberlite diamonds. The equipment, which ZCDC is currently using is largely designed to process alluvial diamonds.
“That deal has now gone through and a team of experts from Belarus will soon come for a site visit and see how they can assemble the equipment,” said Mr Nyashanu.
“We are adding new equipment that can process conglomerates. At the moment, we are doing exploration to identify the primary source (the kimberlite) and the equipment we are acquiring will also be able to process the kimberlite diamonds.”
Before the consolidation of the industry, companies were mostly doing alluvial mining.
Mr Nyashanu said the recapitalisation was a multi-staged programme, which would largely focus on modifications of the mining operations and processes. He said the company will intensify exploration programmes to build up the life of the mines.
Zimbabwe merged diamond mining companies previously operating in Chiadzwa and Marange diamond fields into ZCDC as Government moved in to ensure accountability. This triggered some court actions as some miners resisted eviction arguing the move was unlawful. As a result, diamond production declined by 62 percent to 924 388 carats last year due to court cases filed by evicted miners resisting Government’s decision to consolidate the sector.
The consolidation of the industry is expected to enhance transparency and accountability.
This will in turn improve revenue inflows from the gems and will go a long way in speeding Zimbabwe’s economic recovery. Elsewhere in the region, Botswana and Namibia are significantly benefiting from diamond revenue. In Botswana, for instance, where on average about $3,2 billion worth of diamonds are produced annually, the revenues enable every child to receive free education up to the age of 13.
Zimbabwe merged diamond mining companies previously operating in Chiadzwa and Marange diamond fields into ZCDC as Government moved in to ensure accountability.