Govt seeks investors in diamond exploration

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) says the country must attract investors into exploration of new diamond reserves.

David Murangari, the Corporation’s chairman, said the measure was critical in increasing government’s revenue and employment creation.

“The challenge we have is to invite investors who are interested to go further and search for kimberlites beyond the Marange area. We must attract serious investors with resilience into the diamond industry, because it takes time for the benefits to accrue,” he told the 2014 Zimbabwe Diamond Conference.

Zimbabwe is believed to have more than 25 percent of the world’s gems, but recent reports indicated that alluvial diamonds were fast running out in Marange.

Government, however, refutes the claims.

Officially opening the conference on Thursday, President Robert Mugabe also urged local and international investors to invest in the exploration of minerals in the country.

Mugabe said Zimbabwe could only benefit from its minerals through investment in appropriate technologies and if it undertook new exploration projects to discover new deposits and ramped up production on existing mines, among other measures.

“In spite of mining being an important contributor to the country’s economy, the mining sector has been limited to extraction and exportation of minerals in their raw or semi-processed form, without due care taken to beneficiation and value addition.

“The finite resources should be made to remain competitive, in both regional and global markets,” he added.

Mines minister Walter Chidakwa said despite the diamond discoveries made so far in the country, Zimbabwe remained largely underexplored and therefore presents huge opportunities for new discoveries.

“As the State, we must know the value of these concessions. This requires comprehensive knowledge of our geology and mineralisation. Quantification and valuation of the unmined asset remains our top priority,” he said.

“New technologies such as aero-magnetics, big data and cloud computing will be deployed to this end,” he added.

The conference, which ended on Friday, attracted participants that included African mining ministers, diamond mining companies, and world leading diamond manufacturers and traders.

“Zimbabwe has always been, and still is a key trading partner for the Antwerp diamond industry,” said Ari Epstein, chief executive of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC).

“I would like to congratulate Zimbabwe for holding its first local tender, based on the Antwerp Tender System. The government’s initiative to start holding its own diamond auctions is most certainly a positive step towards continuing to build a strong and robust future for the Zimbabwean diamond industry,” he said.

Industry experts say AWDC’s presence at the conference demonstrated that it would continue cooperating with Zimbabwe so as to secure mutually beneficial rewards, based on full transparency.ZMDC calls for more diamond exploration

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