Zim govt's diamond miner plans $20m investment

HARARE - Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company (ZCDC) – a wholly-owned State enterprise formed after the merger of seven miners in the country’s gem-rich Chiadzwa fields – is planning a $20 million investment this year after nearly doubling production in 2018's first quarter.

The miner produced 751,303 carats during the quarter, 80 percent above previous comparable period's 422,518 carats.
The output, ZCDC chief executive Moris Mpofu said, is “25 percent above a 600 000 carats target” for the period, and is set to rise on the back of the planned multi-million dollar investment.

“In its first year of operation (2016), ZCDC produced 965,000 carats, despite limited capacity and access to mining concessions.  In 2017, the company doubled this output to 1,8 million carats from improved operational efficiency and production effectiveness,” he said, adding that “in 2018, the company continues to grow from strength to strength”.
Mpofu said in the second quarter, the diamond miner plans to commission a 450 tonne per hour (TPH) conglomerate crushing plant and new equipment, which includes 52 pieces of earth moving vehicles from Belarus and other mining and exploration equipment partly funded from government’s $80 million injection.

“The company’s combined processing capacity will be in excess of 750 TPH after the commissioning,” he said.
ZCDC, he said, targets to produce three million carats in 2018.

“This represents growth of 84 percent from 2017’s 1.8 million carats,” Mpofu said.
He said ZCDC – with mining operations in eastern Zimbabwe, Chiadzwa area and Chimanimani, and is conducting exploration across the country, with expectation to open new mines – has come from a tough background.

“When ZCDC commenced operations in February 2016, there was very limited geological information available at that time to guide mining operations. There was no meaningful exploration done and ZCDC had to invest in exploration and evaluation to develop resource statements which could be used to guide mining operations and inform investment decisions. While undertaking exploration and evaluation in Marange, ZCDC continued processing alluvial deposits from various concessions previously mined by the former mining companies. Using 5th generation x-ray recovery technology, the company was able to recover diamonds from its previously processed material, while exploring and evaluating new areas for run of mine material.”
“Midway, in 2017 the company invested about $10 million towards capacitation of its geology through purchase of equipment such as, drill rigs, mobile crushers and small processing plants,” Mpofu said.

“In 2018, ZCDC will invest more than $20 million in exploration and evaluation in an effort to upgrade known resources and discover new kimberlite deposits,” he added.
Mpofu said by the end of 2017, ZCDC – through its new business model and the effective implementation of the conglomerate mining framework – had transformed from processing over 90 percent tailings to run of mine of over 80 percent.

“During the first quarter of 2018, ZCDC continued to focus on conglomerate mining, which now largely forms the entirety of its run of mine,” he said, further stating that “ZCDC has also engaged a Competent Person to certify its resource statements according to the internationally recognized and standardized SAMREC code”.
ZCDC took over the Chiadzwa diamond mining operations from seven private players namely Anjin Investments, Diamond Mining Company, Jinan, Kusena, Marange Resources, DTZ-Ozgeo and Mbada Diamonds.

It has so far invested significantly community development through a robust corporate social responsibility programme, especially in areas to do with public health – refurbishments of clinics, agriculture – tillage and  provision of inputs, infrastructural development – roads and construction of bridges, education – provision of bursaries and scholarships, and sanitation – drilling of boreholes to provide clean and safe drinking water to communities.

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