Zimbabwe Diamond Production May Reach New High of 3 Million Carats in 2018
Zimbabwe has extracted 2.4 million carats of rough diamonds in the first ten months of 2018 and is on track to reach a new high of 3 million carats in annual production this year, according to media reports from that country.
Production under the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), the government run company that oversees diamond mining in the country is set to surpass the existing record production levels achieved in a calendar year, boosted by US$100 million invested in operations over the last two years, the reports added.
Last year, the country extracted 1.8 million carats, itself a 54% increase over the 1.56 million carats produced in 2017 and far ahead of the 895,000 carats extracted in 2016.
The reports quoted ZCDC chief executive officer Dr Moris Mpofu as saying that the company had set itself a “stretch target” of 3 million carats this year, and hoped to achieve it despite challenges in terms of fuel and foreign currency shortages that the national economy had faced earlier this year.
Among the measures planned to overcome such obstacles was the setting up of a solar power plant in Marange, with a capacity of 15 – 20 MW at a cost of around US$ 24 million, Dr Mpofu was quoted as saying.
During 2018, the company has been transitioning from an alluvial to a conglomerate-based mining model with an investment of over US$ 25 million in a large crushing plant with capacity to crush over 450 tonnes of ore per hour.
ZCDC also resumed sales in the third quarter of 2018 following test sales at the start of the year, the reports stated. In addition, it has launched online bidding through the Zimbabwe Electronic Diamond Trading System and also plans to invest US$ 20 million in the establishment of a state-of-the-art Diamond Value Management Centre to enhance capacity in cleaning, sorting, valuation, sales and security.
As part of a larger Vision 2030 put forward for the country, ZCDC plans to invest US$ 400 million in its operations over the next five years. This includes a budget for diamond exploration and evaluation. Some activity in this direction has already commenced, and work is already underway at three sites outside Marange where ZCDC is searching for viable kimberlite deposits.
The company expects its workforce to increase from 1,500 to 4,000 in the coming year as a result of these initiatives.