By Business Reporter
MUTARE (Mining Index) – BUSINESS people in Manicaland have urged Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) to fully extract all mineral resources in the Marange diamond fields for greater value addition.
ZCDC is sorely extracting conglomerate diamonds in Chiadzwa in the Eastern Highlands while exploration for kimberlite diamonds has also started.
Dump from diamond mining is left unprocessed for further mineral extraction that co- exist with the diamonds in the area.
Manicaland province is host to a variety of minerals such as diamonds, gold, tantalum, copper, molybdenum and silver, with two thirds of the province reported to have abundant gold deposits.
Responding to questions during the Business Economic Empowerment Forum (BEEF) third Consultative Indaba Session (CIS) held in Manicaland province, ZCDC Mineral Resource Executive, Owen Chihoto revealed the diamond fields had traces of other minerals although they have not been extracted.
“Uneconomical traces of gold, copper ilmenite, garnets, diopside and limestone have been identified,” he said.
ZCDC has 795 000.8 hectares in Chiadzwa and 22690.5 hectares in Chimanimani.
Minerals in the Marange diamond fields need to be accounted for as they will in the long run make meaningful contributions to overall output and revenue.
The business community called on the Geological Survey department to conduct a comprehensive mineral survey of the mineral wealth in Chiadzwa.
“Plans to extract the other minerals depend on economic viability of the mineral and in compliance with regulations,” said Chihoto.
A geological summary of the Chiadzwa Diamond Fields available on the ZCDC website only point out to the diamond survey conducted, with no mention of other minerals present in the area.
Business people in Manicaland called on the state-owned firm to adopt a similar model used by Zimplats to fully exploit all minerals found within their mining area.
Zimplats is wholly focussed on platinum mining. However, due to continued exploration efforts within its mining territory, vast palladium deposits have been identified, now contributing significantly to Zimplats output and revenue.
While Zimplats’ core business has been platinum production, presenting their financial results ending June 2018, Zimplats gave a full report on output and revenue generated by each mineral milled and mined in all their mines, despite the ‘uneconomical traces’ of various minerals present.
Zimplats noted growth trajectory by palladium contributing 11% in 2009, 19% in 2012, 27% in 2015 and now commanding a good position of 35% in 2018, almost at par with platinum which contributed 38 percent. Nickel contributed 9%, rhodium 7%, gold 6% while other metals contributed 5%.
In the Zimplats September 2018 quarterly report ruthenium contributed 5382 ounces, iridium 2 549 while silver contributed 12 112 ounces. Nickel contributed 1358 tonnes, copper 962 tonnes with cobalt 22 ounces.
Government is expected to commission a US$100 million conglomerate diamond plant in Chiadzwa before the end of 2018.
Business people encouraged ZCDC to adopt new technology and a processing plant that can process all minerals for accountability and value addition.
Increased exploration and fresh greenfield projects are expected to result in overall diamond production reaching the targeted 3 million carats by end of 2018 with a projection of 10 million carats per year by 2022. ENDS//