Zimbabwe’s mining industry is destined to increase in size from USD 2.7 Bn industry attained in 2017 to a USD 12 Bn industry by 2023 with diamond expected to contribute
USD 1 Bn. This is according to Winston Chitando, Zimbabwe’s Mines and Mining Development Minister.
He revealed this earlier this week during the commissioning of the Airborne Mineral Exploration project in Chivi and Mwenezi districts in Masvingo Province to determine the extent of diamond deposits in the area.
“As part of the contribution to the country’s Vision 2030 of creating a middle-income economy, the mining industry is destined to increase in size from a mere USD 2.7 Bn industry attained in 2017 to a USD 12 Bn industry by 2023.”
It is believed the two districts; Chivi and Mwenezi are rich in kimberlites: an igneous rock which sometimes contains diamonds. Earlier, the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Masvingo province, Josaya Hungwe, confirmed that the kimberlite pipes in these districts are rich in diamonds.
“It is a important milestone which Government is working on towards the attainment of the Vision 2030 and with that USD 12 Bn industry by end of 2023, diamonds will contribute USD 1 Bn at least,” Chitando said.
Minister Chitando said Government was already implementing the diamond policy hinged on value addition and beneficiation.
“In terms of the development of the Diamond Industry, last year we produced 2,8 million carats and the whole idea is for this to go up to at least 10 million carats by the year 2023. I said at least (10 million) because that projection is based on geologically proven sites and with the exploration which is now taking place, who knows what can happen?,” he said.
“This event is important in the sense that exploration activities of this nature would enable us to improve our diamond production beyond the 10 million carats.”
Zimbabwe’s diamond production has been declining over the years from about 12 million carats in 2012 with miners citing dwindling alluvial diamond deposits. In an attempt to better diamond production, the Emmerson Mnangagwa-led country earlier held talks with Botswana, who have a more equipped diamond industry, to assist it in adding value to its gems which are currently being sold in raw form.
Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Cde Ezra Chadzamira also addressed guests at the event held at Buffalo Range Airport and he said the commissioning of the diamond exploration project was important because it will create employment.
“Under the thrust of devolution, Mining and Minerals Development sector provides a larger percentage towards the attainment of Masvingo’s Gross Domestic Product. As such, exploration of diamonds in Mwenezi and Chiredzi districts gives us scientific grounds to plan for our people, industrialisation, modernisation and development.”
“Masvingo, therefore, stands ready to beneficiate, value add, market diamonds and related products in manner that seeks to see local communities participating and benefiting,” he said.
Minister Chadzamira was keen to point out diamond mining in Mwenezi and Chiredzi will contain the issue of illegal border jumping into neighbouring South Africa by unemployed youths. “Having our youths and woman, crossing Runde and Limpopo Rivers full of crocodiles to South Africa in search of jobs will now be a thing of the past.”
“The exploration of diamonds for mining purposes in these two districts will bring new diversified economic activities in Mwenezi and Chiredzi districts.” Adding that the mining activities will result in economic transformation of the Lowveld towards massive rural development.
Mr Nicholas Taruvinga, the Managing Director of AeroSurv, which partnered Xcalibur Airborne Geophysics of South Africa for the aeromagnetic surveying of gem deposits in Mwenezi and Chiredzi said the companies focused on collecting data from underneath rocks.
“Our companies utilise aircraft and helicopter platforms equipped with the very latest in data acquisition technology AeroSurv Zimbabwe collects, processes and interprets data related to the earth’s surface and the souls and rocks beneath,” said Mr Taruvinga.
Zimbabwe is endowed with abundant mineral resources and is arguably one of the richest countries in terms of mineral resources in in the world.
Featured Image Courtesy: Inverse