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US$500 million Botswana diamond facility crucial

By Business Reporter – Tuesday 26 February 2019

HARARE (Mining Index) – ZIMBABWE is expected to host Botswana for a Bi-National Commission (BNC) which will see President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his counterpart Mokgweetsi Masisi sign agreements, that will operationalize the US$500 million facility for the diamond sector.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador James Manzou appreciated the US$500 million diamond facility offered by Botswana.

Botswana is the second largest diamond producer in the world after Russia. In 2016, Zimbabwe was ranked 8th in the top 10 world diamond producers.

Top 10 world diamond producers in 2016

The facility will go a long way in improving the mining sector which requires funding to conduct thorough diamond exploration in the country and beneficiation that will help the country realise more foreign currency.

The new diamond policy spelt out the need to spearhead exploration, mining, processing, valuation, marketing, beneficiation, value addition, as well as the issues of capacity building, security and law enforcement.

410 000 carats, which is 10 percent of the projected output of 4.1 million carats shall be reserved for local value addition.

Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) and Murowa Diamonds were initially named as two of the four companies mandated to explore and mine diamonds in the country.

Government delayed announcing two other companies that would get diamond concessions, later emerging that government was considering foreign firms, Alrosa Diamond Company and Anjin Investments, a Chinese firm as participants in the country’s diamond sector.

Russia’s mining giant Alrosa, which is the world’s top diamond producer by output, is responsible for 27 percent of the global rough diamond production in terms of carats, established operations in Angola and Botswana. Alrosa is expected to share its wealth of experience in field of mineral exploration and diamond mining, including the industry self-regulation and responsible business.

Earlier this year, ZCDC revealed it would invest US$32 million in exploration projects to support a resource definition and expansion programme envisaged to anchor annual output to 4, 1 million carats up from 2, 8 million carats achieved in 2018.

The commissioning of a US$100 million diamond plant in December last year gave enhanced capacity to process conglomerate diamonds in Chiadzwa. With a capacity of 450 tonnes per hour, is expected to contribute in the increase in diamond production in 2019.

The Botswana BNC comes amid reports that in December last year, South Africa’s National Treasury spokesperson Jabulani Sikhakhane said his government turned down Zimbabwe’s request to borrow US$1.2bn (about R16billion). ENDS//

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