Zim diamond companies regain sparkle

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Harare (New Ziana) – The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), the country’s largest diamond miner, has set a production target of over 5 million carats this year, while others including Anjin and Murowa are expanding production capacities to drive growth in the sector, a Cabinet Minister said on Thursday.

ZCDC, along with Anjin, Murowa and Alrosa are the four companies licensed to mine diamonds in the country.
However, Alrosa is still at exploration stage.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando told a press conference that firm growth was envisaged in the diamond sector, as it regains its sparkle following production challenges experienced in recent years.

“There is strong growth taking place in the diamond sector, (for example) ZCDC had record production last year, they produced 4.1 million carats from a base of about 1.8 million carats in 2017 and this year their target is to produce over 5 million carats so they are doing very well,” he said.

“We also have Murowa diamonds which is in expansion mode, they have a new plant which is being constructed which should be commissioned by May this year then we also have Anjin which is also ramping up production.”

The local diamond industry is expected to contribute at least US$1 billion towards the US$12 billion mining industry milestone by 2023.

Increased production, Chitando said, would also help increase local value-addition.

“There is also a greater focus on value addition and by the end of the year we will see increased quantities of diamonds being value added locally,” he said.

On its part, Anjin restarted operations in April 2020, after being shut down following a government directive in 2016.

After being shut down, the company was hit by severe vandalism of its infrastructure and security systems.

“Currently the company is rebuilding the impaired capabilities, it is also admitted that some of the technologies have changed and the company is in the process of upgrading its facilities,” Anjin said.

“The momentum of re-building was also affected by the Covid-19 pandemic which presented operational restrictions. Nevertheless, Anjin managed to relocate and construct two processing plants and auxiliary facilities to a new location closer the mining pits thereby reducing a 30 kilometre return trip of transporting ores and highly enhancing production efficiencies. The company is now 60 percent operational.”

Plans to get to full capacity were being hampered by challenges including electricity shortages.

Industry experts have said the Russia /Ukraine war could trigger far-reaching consequences for the global gem industry and possibly lift demand for Zimbabwe’s stones.

Russia’s Alrosa is the world’s biggest diamond producer by volume at 30 percent and the slightest disruption to its ability to supply has potential to distort the market.

“It may end up creating the supply gap that may drive demand for our product, as well as that of other players,” ZCDC chief executive officer Mark Mabhudhu was quoted by Bloomberg early this week.
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