Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Manicaland Bureau
THE Government, through the Zimbabwe Consolidated Mining Company, is on the verge of striking a US$450 million deal with a diamond mining company for the production of 850 000 carats of diamonds, as part of efforts to increase earnings to US$1 billion by 2023.
ZCDC has been the only company operating in Chiadzwa following the consolidation of mining activities in the area by the Government, but a shift in policy has seen the company signing an agreement with Alrosa Overseas SA, for the exploration, extraction and marketing of diamonds.
Chinese firm, Anjin Investments, was also re-licensed to extract gems in Chiadzwa.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando last week said the agreement would complement the plan to recapitalise ZCDC in the next few months to increase production.
He was speaking at a meeting for the Mines and Mining Development Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, which sought to review legislation and policies governing the mining industry.
Minister Chitando said the US$1 billion target for diamonds was premised on the production of two million carats per annum. “ZCDC will be recapitalised in the next few months to bolster its capacity to increase production and utilise their concession. There is a greater plan for the development of the consolidated 719 hectares, which falls under ZCDC.
“The company has come up with a five-year strategy for the extraction of diamonds in that consolidated area, but also using the arrangement with Alrosa and Anjin. In addition, we are signing an agreement with one of the four players before September 15, where there will be US$450 million in the production of 850 000 carats. It should all add towards our target from diamonds.”
Responding to questions from Members of Parliament on why the Government was bringing in more companies into the Chiadzwa area and how it would benefit Manicaland province, Minister Chitando said the potential of diamonds in Manicaland went beyond the Chiadzwa consolidated area.
He said Alrosa had been roped in to focus on diamond mining in other areas in Manicaland and other provinces.
“Alrosa are concentrating outside the Chiadzwa consolidated area, they are working on areas on the outskirts of the Chiadzwa area, including Chimanimani. But over and above that, they are targeting 15 areas across the country,” said Minister Chitando.