Murowa starts diamond exploration in Chivi

Source: Murowa starts diamond exploration in Chivi | The Herald April 26, 2019

Murowa starts diamond exploration in ChiviMr Matavire

George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
One of the four companies licenced to mine diamonds in Zimbabwe, Murowa Diamonds, has started exploration for gems in Sese communal lands in Chivi, where the firm has nearly 200 claims for the mineral.

Murowa mines diamonds in Zvishavane in the Midlands, but has 199 claims in Chivi which are concentrated around the Sese area. It is believed the diamond belt currently under exploitation in Zvishavane by Murowa extends into neighbouring Chivi district.

The diamond miner is currently exploring to establish the gem resource and commercial viability on two of its claims at St Simon Zhara Primary School near Sese Business Centre.  The exercise is expected to run for two years, with final exploration results expected at the end of next year when the mining firm will announce its decision on whether it will start full-scale mining or not.

Chivi Rural District Council chief executive Mr Tariro Matavire on Wednesday confirmed the firm had started the exploration. “They (Murowa) approached us to inform they were now moving onto some of their claims to start exploring for diamonds and they are currently drilling holes at St Simon Zhara Primary School sports ground where they are taking samples for laboratory examination to determine the quality of the gem resource together with the size and commercial viability which will determine whether to start full scale mining or not,” he said. “The company has 199 diamond mining claims in Chivi, but they are currently working on two claims and unconfirmed reports indicate the tests taking place now will run for two years.”

Mr Matavire said both St Simon Zhara Primary and its sister school, Danhamombe Secondary School, and adjacent communities will be relocated if Murowa discovers commercially exploitable diamonds.

“‘The firm will use open-cast mine, which means there will be relocation of schools, villages and other facilities if diamonds are discovered in Sese,” he said.

He said Chivi RDC and Murowa will continue to engage over outstanding development levy which saw the two dragging each other to court.

Murowa in denying culpability to pay the levy was arguing that it was not actively operating in Chivi district, hence there was no obligation to pay the local authority.

On the contrary, council argued that the fact Murowa held diamond claims it had to pay the levy as it was up to the firm to exploit or keep them idle.

If Murowa discovers rich diamond resources in Chivi, the district will be set on a path to rapid socio-economic development bouyed by the gems.

Besides Chivi, diamond exploration is also underway in Mwenezi where the Zimbabwe Consolidated Mining Company is doing an aero-magnetic survey to explore for gems. Masvingo has a diverse minerals resource base as the province is home to gold, coal and lithium which can help push up its Gross Domestic Product in light of devloution, if the resources are exploited to the maximum.