Livingstone Marufu Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) has invested $30 million in kimberlite mining and plant equipment from South Africa in a bid to exploit minerals for sustainability and growth.
Of the total amount, $15 million is for mining equipment from South Africa and another $15 million is for setting up of the plant locally. ZCDC CEO Dr Morris Mpofu, told The Herald Business that conglomerate mining will see the country getting high value from diamond extraction due to the quality of the diamond associated with the kimberlite mining.
“We are over half way through the installation of the $15 million plant in Marange and we are expecting 62 truckloads of kimberlite equipment from South Africa in the next two months and the equipment will cost over $15 million. “The state of the art kimberlite mining equipment is expected to extract 450 tonnes of ore per hour,” said Dr Mpofu.
Over the past decade Zimbabwe has been doing alluvial mining in Marange. “We have been mining alluvial diamonds in the last decade and we extracted very little value out of it. We have moved to the next stage of high quality kimberlite diamonds, which we are mining for sustainability and growth.
“The sustainability type of mining will give the investors more appetite to capitalise as the underground resource will not easily deplete like the alluvial mining.” Dr Mpofu said the mining equipment comprises of earth movers, excavators and dump trucks among other extractive equipment.
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 at Chiadzwa.
The deal is part of several loans that the country is getting from Belarus to support productive mining. About 70 percent of Belarus mining equipment is already in the country with the rest of the equipment expected before November.
Dr Mpofu highlighted the need to reduce contract mining in order to realise more profit from the mining. He said: “We want owner mining and reduce contract mining as it is a bit expensive. We have already started conglomerate mining in August and it is paying off promptly though we are still mining in small quantities.
“We want to continue with this kind of mining as it is giving us prompt results.” ZCDC is adding new equipment that can process conglomerates and it is doing exploration to identify the primary source (the kimberlite).
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 six 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. Dr Mpofu said 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 up Zimbabwe’s economic recovery. To date ZCDC has produced over 1,4 million diamond carats with almost the same amount in stock waiting for Government and neighbouring countries valuations.
Zimbabwe merged diamond mining companies previously operating in Chiadzwa and Marange diamond fields into ZCDC as Government moved in to ensure accountability.