Zimbabwe to clear diamond stockpile

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Expects better earnings

MMCZ to conduct regular sales

Martin Kadzere
Zimbabwe expects to sell its diamonds stockpile, by June this year, through a series of international tenders, the country’s mineral marketing agency said this week.

The country has a stock pile of about 1,4 million carats in stock stored in order to improve the quality of gems and correct the notion local diamond were of cheap quality.

The first international tender closes today, Mineral and Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe general manager Masimba Chandavengerwa told Business Weekly. The second tender is expected towards end of March and will run through April.

“We expected to dispose of whatever we are holding by June this year and then go to fresh gems,” said Chandavengerwa.

“We intend to come up with a calendar so that customers can plan to participate in our tenders.

“We took a decision to hold on to our diamonds because we wanted to correct the notion that our diamonds are cheap.

“We have also improved the quality by taking out impurities that had been affecting the quality.”

Mr Chandavengerwa said with expected increase in production this year, the corporation would conduct regular sales. Zimbabwe is this year expected to produce three million carats, Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando told Parliament recently.

President Mnangagwa said recently the Government was working on a policy on the local diamond industry before opening up the sector to private foreign investors.

State-owned, Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company — formed in 2016 after Government kicked out mining firms from Marange diamond fields — is currently responsible for extracting the commodity from Marange.

At its peak in 2012, Zimbabwe’s diamond sector produced 12 million carats. Meanwhile, Chandavengerwa said Zimbabwe had received a lot of enquiries from South Asia, Far East and South Pacific from customers interested in buying lithium from the country.

Zimbabwe is set to become a leading global player in the lithium industry as investors intensify prospecting of the mineral–an essential element in production of batteries.

Through the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, the Government struck a deal last Friday with a foreign investor to extract lithium from dumps at Kamativi Mine.

Currently, Bikita Minerals is the only lithium mine operating in Zimbabwe with estimated deposits of 11 million tonnes.

“There is huge interests and we will definitely be inundated as soon as we started producing,” he said. The ZMDC is working on reviving the mine and geologists have already confirmed more lithium deposits than tin.

The two lithium projects—still at exploration are Zulu Project and the Arcadia Project. Chitando said lithium was one of the minerals that Zimbabwe would push for investment.

Zimbabwe has already repealed empowerment regulations, which prohibited majority ownership of mines by foreigners for all minerals except for platinum and diamond.

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