Chiadzwa (New Ziana) – The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) said on Thursday it expected to reverse last year’s production slump and double output to more than three million carats this year.
The company’s production slumped last year to 1.6 million carats from 2.8 million the previous year owing largely to power cuts.
But, ZCDC chief executive officer Roberto De Pretto said the company expected to bounce back from the production decline of last year.
“We have adjusted our target accordingly taking into account the unreliable supply of energy from Zesa but we have put in our capital expenditure two additional generators and also we are going to be pushing for a solar farm to provide all the energy we need,” he told New Ziana after a tour of the vast diamond fields in Chiadzwa.
“This year we will be doubling what we produced in 2019 which was 1.6 million carats. We are looking at a target of about 3.2 million carats this year.”
De Pretto said the company was planning to acquire two mobile crushing and recovery plants to augment the 450 tonne per hour crusher commissioned in 2018.
The new crushers he said, would increase capacity to about 650 tonnes per hour
De Pretto said ZCDC was also forging ahead with plans to tie up new joint ventures in order to open up new mines.
One such partner, he said, was United Kingdom headquartered firm Vast Resources which had partnered with the local Chiadzwa community to form a company called Katanga Resources which will in turn partner with the ZCDC.
“Vast is joined with the Chiadzwa community and they have formed a company called Katanga Resources. Just a few loose ends remain before the signing of the agreement, we are waiting for issues around the actual agreement itself and then there is another three or four (companies) that are very close to being signed,” he said.
“It is exciting for us in that through the diamond policy we will be opening up more diamond fields for other players to bring in Foreign Direct Investment and increase the number of diamonds we will be producing because just on our own ZCDC will not be able to access all the dormant mines and operationalise them.”
Despite discovering huge diamond deposits in the eastern parts of the country over a decade ago, Zimbabwe is yet to realise meaningful benefits from their exploitation.
Companies that were operating in the area previously have been accused
of fuelling leakages at the expense of the country, especially following revelations by the late former President Robert Mugabe that the country could have been prejudiced of revenues amounting to $15 billion over the years.
While the figure remains contentious, no one has doubted the occurrence of leakages in the sector.
It is these past misnomers that the ZCDC is seeking to correct through transparent extraction and marketing of the gems.