Diamonds still have a lot to contribute to Zimbabwe- minister says


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Diamonds, which raised a lot of hope for Zimbabwe’s economic recovery when they were discovered in Marange but seem to have since fizzled out, still have a lot to contribute to the country’s economy but they have to be mined differently, the Deputy Minister of Mines, Fred Moyo, told  the Senate last week.

Moyo said there had been a drop in the volume of diamonds mined because the country was transitioning from alluvial mining to underground mining.

He said diamonds sat in three forms: alluvial which were on the surface and were easy to mine; conglomerates which were 20 to 40 metres below the ground; and then kimberlites which were even further down.

“We are generally transitioning from the easy mining to the ones that are deep seated and naturally, volumes would drop but as you go down quality improves,” Moyo said in response to a question from Senator David Chimhini.

“We are trying to push our exploration programme because when you go to mine deep seated diamonds you need to carefully know where they are and plan your mining activities properly. This is the phase that we are going through and that is why the Ministry has been talking a lot about pushing forward the exploration programme for our minerals. In summary, yes we have the minerals underground but we need to mine them differently from how we were mining them yesterday.”

The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front has been accused of looting the country’s diamonds and using them to finance its 2013 election campaign in which it trounced the Movement for Democratic Change reversing an 11 seat loss to a 61 seat gain.

 

Q & A:

 

SENATOR CHIMHINI: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development. We used to talk a lot about Marange diamonds. Do we still have a lot of activities going on at that place? If so, are we still getting sufficient revenue in the fiscus from the mining activities in Marange?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (MR. F. MOYO): Yes, there is still a lot to talk about with regards to Chiadzwa. There is still a lot that we should expect from there and there is still a lot that diamonds have to contribute to the national fiscus. We are, however, producing less than we were producing before. We are contributing in monetary terms less than we were contributing before from inflows point of view, driven by the low volumes as well as reduced prices of minerals at the international market. The reason for the dropping volumes is that we are basically transitioning from diamonds that were sitting on the surface, the alluvial to those that are deep sitted. The diamonds sit in three forms; the alluvial at the top and easy to mine; those that are conglomerates, which is a thick belt of mud that carries diamonds which is sitting 20, 30, 40 metres below ground and then kimberlites, the ones that sit like a carrot underground and these are found in different places. We are generally transitioning from the easy mining to the ones that are deep sitted and naturally, volumes would drop but as you go down quality improves. We are trying to push our exploration programme because when you go to mine deep sitted diamonds you need to carefully know where they are and plan your mining activities properly. This is the phase that we are going through and that is why the Ministry has been talking a lot about pushing forward the exploration programme for our minerals. In summary, yes we have the minerals underground but we need to mine them differently from how we were mining them yesterday.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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