PRESIDENT Mnangagwa (ED) has challenged state diamond mining entity, Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) to upscale production and increase its contribution to the livelihoods of people living in the community it operates in as well as fiscal contribution.
The President’s call comes hard on the heels of similar sentiments by Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando who in May said Government expects ZCDC to start producing 10 million carats of the precious stones by 2023 up from 1,8 million carats the company managed last year.
Speaking in Harare yesterday where he handed over a $5 million cheque for the revitalisation of the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust to its trustees, the President said diamonds should play a key role towards the betterment of people’s lives.
“The mining sector continues to remain pivotal to the country’s economic development, currently, it contributes more than 60 percent of the nation’s total exports and employ thousands of people both formally and informally,” said the President.
“In this regard, I urge ZCDC to increase its business capacity, enhance productivity, generate foreign exchange and fiscal revenue to have the desired macro-economic impact on the economy.
“Diamonds are a national resource whose proceeds must benefit the whole country,” he said.
Government, the President said, was finalising the new diamond policy which he said will be presented in August with its key facets being to foster development of the diamond sub-sector as well as sustainability in the mining of diamonds.
“Government is fully committed to the sustainable development of the diamond mining sub-sector in order to harness its full potential to ensure that its communities and the nation at large benefit from diamond mining,” said the President.
“In this regard, the finalisation of the diamond policy is progressing well and will soon be ready for presentation in August.
“This policy will seek, among other things, to create a viable operating environment that attract foreign and local investment in the diamond industry in line with the country’s vision of achieving increased investment by 2030,” he said.
ZCDC has already started working on up-scaling production as per Government directive and this year alone is targeting an annual haul of 3 million carats which they intend to grow gradually up to the 10 million mark.
In an interview with this publication last week, ZCDC Chief Executive Officer Dr Moris Mpofu said the state miner hopes to get to 10 million carats by investing $400 million in its operations.
At least $200 million will be financed through reinvestment from the firm’s diamond sale proceeds while the other $200 million will be financed through foreign direct investment. Already the miner has invested in a Mega Diamond Recovery (MDR) plant to recover large and high value stones that were previously not incorporated in the previous plant operations and is also re-opening dormant portals among them D, G, J and Q for conglomerate mining.