Zimbabwe’s diamond output from the Marange fields is expected to decline to 12 million carats this year, according to diamond analysts Rapaport. That would be a 9,7 percent decline as the country is estimated to have produced around 17 million carats in 2013.
The projections come on the back of reports late last year that alluvial diamond deposits at Marange were fast running out amid claims that the companies operating there had neither the expertise nor the resources to crush the hard rock deeper underground to search for new deposits.
This would naturally affect the country’s diamond output. Rapaport, in its latest weekly report noted that although a rise in Zimbabwe’s Marange output in 2013 helped drive global diamond output at the time, the forecast for this year was less impressive. Rapaport expects Marange output to decline to 2012 levels.
“Based on published production reports, global production is expected to rise nearly 11 percent to approximately 141,5 million carats in 2013 – compared to 127,4 million carats in 2012 as published by the Kimberley Process (KP).
“According to Rapaport assessments, growth in 2013 was driven by steady increases at ALROSA, De Beers and Rio Tinto, while Zimbabwe reportedly significantly ramped up output at the Marange mines. However, production at Marange is anticipated to drop back to around 12 million carats in 2014,” said the analysts in its report.
Seven diamond producers were operating on the Marange fields, namely Chiadzwa: Anjin Investments, Diamond Mining Company, Gye Nyame, Jinan, Kusena, Marange Resources and Mbada Diamonds. But Gye Nyame’s operating licence was revoked by the Government last week over “non-performance”.
And the Government has said it plans to streamline Marange operations to leave one or two effective operations.
This could result in the remaining diamond operations having capacity to exploit the deeper embedded conglomerate diamonds, which could boost the country’s diamond output again.
Marange diamond production represents about 13 percent of global rough supply on a per carat basis, but that was when the companies operating there were exploiting the then widespread alluvial diamonds that could be collected with light mining equipment.
Effective exploitation of the conglomerate diamonds could see Zimbabwe stake a bigger claim of the global diamonds supply market.