Livingstone Marufu Business Reporter
The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), which has invested US$30 million in conglomerate mining equipment from South Africa, is set to complete all installations by January 2018 and start sustainable mining.
Source: ZCDC to complete equipment installation by January | The Sunday Mail December 31, 2017
At least 80 percent of the mining equipment has already been installed with some of the mines already using conglomerate mining. ZCDC chief executive officer Dr Morris Mpofu, told The Sunday Mail Business that the installation of the mining equipment will ramp up production in 2018.
“I’m sure that by the end of January all equipment installation will be through.We will be wrapping up everything in January to ensure that we start the actual mining that can sustain the diamond industry for a long period of time.
“We already have acquired latest mobile crushers set to boost productivity levels and, as we speak, we have already installed equipment between 80 percent and 90 percent,” said Dr Mpofu. Since the part installation of the conglomerate mining equipment in around September, the company has been producing over 200 000 carats monthly.
The trend is expected to be even higher as the installation process comes to an end. Conglomerate mining will see the country getting high value from diamond extraction due to the quality of the diamonds associated with that type of mining.
Around 62 truckloads of conglomerate equipment from South Africa are already in the country and an amount of around US$20 million is believed to have been used so far. Dr Mpofu said the state-of-the-art mining equipment is expected to extract 450 tonnes of ore per hour.
Over the past decade, Zimbabwe has been doing alluvial mining in Marange. The sustainability type of mining will give investors more appetite to capitalise as the underground resource will not easily deplete like the alluvial mining.
Dr Mpofu said the mining equipment comprises earthmovers, 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. Belarus mining equipment is already in the country. Dr Mpofu highlighted the need to reduce contract mining in order to realise more profit from the mining.
He said: “We want to reduce contract mining as it is a bit expensive. We 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.