Marange diamonds running out

via Marange diamonds running out | The Financial Gazette by Maggie Mzumara 7 Nov 2013

THE quality and quantity of diamonds mined at the controversial Chiadzwa diamond fields has been on a decline since 2012, casting doubts over the possibility of the diamonds sector bailing the country out of the current quagmire. While many have held their breath on the hope that the country’s diamonds would take Zimbabwe out of the woods, the Financial Gazette can reveal that currently the diamond producers themselves need bailing out to enable them to acquire the equipment needed to mine the gems underground.

Despite official claims that the diamond fortunes are still as glittering as before, the Financial Gazette is reliably informed that the shine has been waning since last year because the alluvial (surface) diamonds are fast running out at the Chiadzwa minefields.

Because there is now insignificant diamonds in the alluvial ore, the little that is found is of poor quality than before.

While there is hope that economic grade diamond deposits exist underground, the companies operating in  Chiadzwa need equipment to get to the gems, which is costly. As such, there is need for them to invest in state-of-the art equipment for them to extract the gems below the surface. The biggest challenge is that some of the companies have no financial wherewithal to invest in the equipment. The country got the most from diamonds in 2011 and thereafter production has been on the decline in terms of quality and quantity, according to the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), which has an interest in all the companies operating in Chiadzwa.

In 2011, diamonds were contributing to the fiscus between US$ 23 million to US$33 million a month.

“Currently contributions of such magnitude are not possible, but that is not to say that it won’t happen again in the future. It can again. Just that we were mining alluvial diamonds but now we need to mine conglomerates. We have to go deeper and we need equipment for that. We also need to expand and explore further. There is a lot of untapped land and we need to establish what we have under the ground,” said Florence Gowora, acting board chairperson for ZMDC.

“Government is currently looking at ways to enable the diamond companies to acquire capital to expand their operations so that we can unlock the value we have underground. The future is bright for the mining sector. We are focusing on how we can grow it (the sector).”

Gowora said while it was nothing unusual for the nation to look at the diamond sector expectantly, capitalisation challenges were affecting production  while the companies operating in Chiadzwa are also desperate to plough back what they are earning into their operations. Mines and Mining Development deputy minister, Fred Moyo was quoted recently saying that surface ores have exhausted but expressed hope that the country still has opportunities to explore further for more alluvial diamonds.

“It is naturally expected in mining that surface ores will exhaust first, specifically for diamonds. It is important to note that the area of Chiadzwa is not explored, really. We cannot exhaust deposit of this nature with five years of operating… the diamond area is not well explored, meaning we still have more of the surface diamonds,” Moyo said.

Although reluctant to say much, Marange Diamonds corporate affairs manager, Muriel Nqwababa, confirmed that surface gems were getting exhausted.

“Our position is the same as that of the deputy minister,” Nqwababa said.

Compounding the situation are poor prices being fetched on the international market at a time when Zimbabwe is still trying to gain a foothold on the mainstream market following years of bickering with the Kimberly Process.

“We have not been participating in the international space and prices of our diamonds have also not picked up,” Gowora said, although she expressed optimism that the recent mission to Zimbabwe by Antwerp would result in better fortunes for the local diamond industry.

“Antwerp is promising to get better value for Zimbabwe,” she said.

Meanwhile the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Walter Chidhakwa has said that government is mulling options for an international bond to be used to raise money for development of the country’s mining sector.

Chidakwa is yet to meet with Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa to devise a plan for the bonds within a month’s time.

Zimbabwe is billed as the fourth largest diamond producer in the world.

The nation’s total diamond production from Marange increased from 8,7 million carats in 2011 to 12 million carats last year.

This year, production is expected to rise further reaching over 17 million carats. But for this to occur, capital and equipment are needed.



  • comment-avatar

    So why did the government give those Ainjin and Mbada thieves the licences when they don’t have the capital to invest in the underground operations. Because if they just wanted to extract just the surface diamonds we don’t need the Chinese for that.

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    Zvapasipano 9 years ago

    Hoo hop don’t joke varume kuita kwaMwari . Be still and know that He is God.

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    bam bam 9 years ago

    aaagh shame! i hope the diamonds run out as they are a curse on the country .. ican just imagine zanu pf sitting on all those diamonds and not being clever enouh to learn to extract them ha bladdy ha.

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    Chivulamapoti 9 years ago

    It makes no difference anyway, whatever diamonds, (and they are of very low quality), are extracted go to Mugarbage and his ZANU-PF Band of Thieves. Zimbabweans never have and never will get the benefit. Mugarbage discouraged ‘real’ Mining Companies to spend their capital, so the Chinese will do it. They’ll make a total cock-up of it too!

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    The world’s biggest diamond heists.

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    Chatunga 9 years ago

    Definitely its a curse from the ancestors.mugarbage shot and murdered the indeginous marange people before forcibly evicting the remaining people so that his bunch of crooks would loot unhindered.the same god given resources never found their way to treasury but were used to violate basics right of the citizenry and rig elections.

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    charakupa mwenewazvo 9 years ago

    Why ZMDC is in joint ventures in several diamond mining companies , mining from the same site? This creates a BIG cloud so that they can loot

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    The disappearance of these diamonds was long Prophesized by our Father on the all night of 31 Dec 2011.The main reason of the disappearance is that The diamonds are not benefiting the ordinary people of Zimbabwe.Even if they buy the equipment they want to buy to mine underground diamonds, they will reap nothing.

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    Very sad…lost opportunities for this great country of ours…another day in Africa.

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    nyakureva 9 years ago

    this is where the Kimberly process comes in. diamond miners the world over must know that for diamond to keep its value there must be permanent shortage. to brag that we will mine 16 mil carats per year is shooting oneself in the foot.

    I am surprised by analysts who say it is not possible to exhaust marange in two years. the rate of exhaustion is a function of what’s available in the ground and the rate of extraction. where to Zimbabwe?
    there is all the expertise we need in zim to economically evaluate, mine, market, reinvest and grow the economy of the country………….or does it?

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    Doris 9 years ago

    Diamonds running out? Or is that just a rumor put out by zpf so that they can continue to fill their own fat pockets?

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      I heard that a couple weeks ago and I also heard that mugs is selling his controversial congo diamonds thru chiadzwa to wash the blood off them!

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    Rwendo 9 years ago

    Well said Doris – you took the words right out of my mouth. ZANU government is back in power. There are calls that the money that was running a parallel ministry of finance should now all be handed over and there should be transparency regarding diamond revenue. Then lo and behold! We are told that… actually the diamonds are running out. I smell a rat. A very big one. Cover up for future diversion.

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    todii zvazvo 9 years ago

    these diamonds are a curse sure. they should just vanish and let us go back to our old zimbabwe. zanu apa yagarira nhanzva. so how will we fund our can we be the fifth producer when our diamonds are running out? something is not right. tsvagai mari for deep mining thats were the money is u need money to make more money, since we own 51% stakes in most mines that means zanu has got to meet most of the capitalisation.kkkkkkkk!

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    Jambanja paSalisbury 9 years ago

    I am too happy to hear this great news! Mbuya Nehanda na Sekuru Chaminuka naKaguvi vatsamwa kuti maChef haangadye ega mhuri yeZimbabwe ichitambura! Tinotenda vaDzimu veDzimbahwe manzwa kuchema kwevana venyu….bu, bu. bu, bu kuuchiririra!

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    Chapa 9 years ago

    Pity the African countries that have minerals – they cause nothing but death and despair. Look at DRC.