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Foreign investors control two-thirds of Zim’s diamond pipes

By Features Reporter – Thursday 13 February 2020

ANALYSIS – HARARE (Mining Index) – AT least two-thirds of Zimbabwe’s diamond sites are either owned, explored or being mined by foreign owned companies.

While the name ‘Chiadzwa’ immediately comes to mind when issues of Zimbabwean diamonds are discussed, did you know Zimbabwe has 17 known diamond pipes?

Five of the diamond pipes are wholly owned by the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC). These include Marange, Chiadzwa, Chimanimani, River Ranch in Beitbridge and Chihota pipes near Harare.

Of the ZCDC concessions, Marange and Chiadzwa have been a powder keg set-up while River Ranch mine was closed in 1998.

ZCDC operations portfolio consists of 8 mining concessions of which 3 are operating and 5 are under resource evaluation.

Diamond pipes that fall under asset joint ventures include Save pipes in Masvingo, Mwenezi in the Lowveld, Ngulube in Matebeleland South, and Katete pipes in Binga.

The Nyashanu pipes in Manicaland and Mbizi pipes in Triangle fall under the Chinese. However, on top of these two, Anjin Investments started mining last year in Chiadzwa, exerting its influence on the eastern hinterland diamond field.

Juliasdale pipes in Nyanga, Triangle pipes in the Lowveld, Nyika pipes in Masvingo and Wanezi pipes in Matebeleland South fall under Russia.

However, Russian miner, Alrosa, is said to be exploring the Chimanimani brownfields, making Chimanimani the 5th site under Russia.

The Beitbridge pipe has been split between two foreign companies from Russia and China.

With ZCDC set to sign several joint venture agreements this year, notably with South African companies, the number of regional and international companies partaking in Zimbabwean diamonds keep growing, elbowing out local investors with interest and potential.

The 17th site, privately owned, belongs to RioZim which operates Murowa diamond mine located south central of Zimbabwe.

The newly enacted Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) Act provides investors with “facility to transfer funds without restriction or delay into or outside Zimbabwe.” Will Zimbabwe be left with anything to show for its natural resources?

Since diamonds were discovered in Marange in 2006, there is no meaningful economic development in the area endowed with multi-billion dollar gems?

And 14 years on, Chiadzwa remains backward. Instead of developing mining towns into world class cities, the glittering gems have become agents of mass displacement and economic ruin.

Of the sixty most important diamond mines in the world, 17 are in Russia. Closer home, Botswana is home to two of the richest diamond mines in the world, Orapa and Jwaneng.  In such countries where diamonds are mined responsibly, it has led to economic growth and development.

Out of the 23 countries in the world where diamonds are mined today, Zimbabwe makes it in the top 10 producing diamond countries, ranked 8th globally.

Top 10 diamond producers in 2018

Zimbabwe is also ranked 6th in Africa after Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Angola, South Africa and Lesotho. ENDS// www.miningindex.co.zw

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