Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
STATE-owned diamond mining firm Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company’s production for the first quarter has risen 80 percent compared to the same period last year.
According to figures availed to this publication by chief executive officer Dr Moris Mpofu – ZCDC managed 751 303 carats in the quarter to March 2018 compared to 422 518 carats mined in the same period last year. The first quarter haul is 25 percent above the 600 000 carats target that the mining entity had set for itself for the period and puts them in a strong position to achieve the 2018 annual target of 3 million carats. This also takes the company’s diamond stockpile to 2,4 million carats, as at March 31, which will be released to the market at the “appropriate time”.
At 78 percent of what the miner managed the whole year in its first year of operation in 2016, the current figures show the continued rise that the firm has been registering as it also managed 1,8 million carats in 2017. As previously announced, production has largely shifted from the depleting alluvial deposits to the complex to extract conglomerate deposits and the smooth transition has been attributed to continued investment. To ensure continued boom, the mine will commission a 450-tonne per hour conglomerate crushing plant as well as receive new mining and exploratory equipment from Belarus as part of its Government backed $80 million recapitalisation programme in the current second quarter.
“In the second quarter of 2018, the company will be commissioning a 450-tonne per hour conglomerate crushing plant and new equipment which includes, 52 pieces of earth moving vehicles (EMVs) from Belarus and other mining and exploration equipment partly funded from Government’s $80 million injection,” said Dr Mpofu.
“This includes, excavators, drill rigs mobile crushers, security equipment and power generation equipment and infrastructure.
“The company’s combined processing capacity will be in excess of 750 tonne per hour after the commissioning. In 2018, ZCDC is targeting to produce 3 million carats, which represents growth of 84 percent from its 2017 achievement of 1.8 million carats,” he said.
In the spirit of transparency and accountability the diamond miner has promised to consistently share with the public its production, stock holdings and sales as indicated by Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando after the test sale of diamonds in February.
Exploratory work will continue this year with $20 million having been budgeted. The investment is a dispatcher from when operations commenced in February 2016 with very little geological or exploratory information.
“In 2018, ZCDC will invest more than $20 million in exploration and evaluation in an effort to upgrade known resources and discover new kimberlite deposits. Continuous investment in exploration and evaluation has allowed ZCDC to upgrade its resource statements with some deposits now upgraded from inferred to indicated resources,” said Dr Mpofu.
The company has also engaged competent personnel to certify its resource statements in line with internationally recognised and standardised South African code which sets out minimum standards, recommendations and guidelines for public reporting of exploration results and mineral resources better known as the SAMREC code.