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Zimbabwe to increase diamond production

Zimbabwe to increase diamond production

Winston Chitando

Zimbabwe is targeting to grow diamond production from 3,5 million to 12 million carats by 2025, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando has said.

Before Zimbabwe attains such lofty output it has to achieve an ambitious but achievable target of growing the diamond sector to a US$1 billion industry.

The government has a grand vision of expanding the mining industry from being a US$3,4 billion sector presently to a US$12 billion industry by 2023, of which diamond should account for nearly a tenth.

In terms of the grand plan, gold, Zimbabwe’s single biggest mineral export, will generate US$4 billion in four years (2023) time while platinum would bring in another US$3 billion as a raft of projects come on stream.

Chitando was speaking during the official reopening of Anjin Diamond Mine in Chiadzwa, Manicaland Province, in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe a few days.

The visit and tour of the diamond mine included several high ranking Government officials chief among them President Mnangagwa and Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga.

In his official remarks, President Mnangagwa exhorted management and workers in diamond mining, through Minister Chitando, to shun corruption and unhealthy corruption, which he said will not be tolerated regardless of the culprit. “Diamonds are not heavy; one does not shed any sweat if carrying some, they just walk freely as if they are not carrying anything.

“I told Minister Chitando and VP Chiwenga, who is in charge of economic ministries, to say please no tolerance to corruption.

“It does not matter who it is; from managers to general workers, we say no tolerance to incidents of corruption,” he said.

VP Chiwenga said diamond mining will play a key role in national economic transformation through jobs, local sales and exports.

Anjin has resumed operations following nearly 5 year-long hiatus that came after the consolidation of all diamond firms in the sector, including private entities, into a single state company over lack of transparency.

The Mines Minister said diamond production was part of four key pillars meant to support the growth of diamond mining in Zimbabwe, as Zimbabwe bids to achieve middle-income status by 2030.

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“And this official reopening of Anjin operations in Chiadzwa are part of that journey, to achieve 10 million carats in 2023, peaking at 12 million carats 2025,” Minister Chitando said.

Minister Chitando said the third important pillar of the diamond policy was the marketing, which envisages setting up of diamond cleaning and sorting facility.

The last and fourth key pillar of the diamond policy, Minister Chitando said, was value addition and entails establishment of a gemmology centre in Mutare.

As of February 2014, the Chiadzwa diamond fields were operated by seven private entities all of which entered 50-50 partnership with the Zimbabwe government under the umbrella of Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).

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