Harare – Russian diamond giant Alrosa and Chinese-owned Anjin are the two foreign companies chosen by Government to partner the state-diamond firm in exploring and mining diamonds, a state-run newspaper reported on Thursday.
Government announced in December that it would allow two private companies to explore and mine gems and Alrosa said last week it had set up a local subsidiary to start operations.
Anjin is not new to the Zimbabwean diamond mining industry as it previously mined the Marange diamond fields until 2015 before Zimbabwe’s government decided against renewing mining licences for gem miners in the area.
Alrosa, the world’s largest diamond producer by output, started conducting geological exploration in Zimbabwe in 2013 but dropped the licences it held there in 2016 due to a reform of the country’s diamond industry.
The move by Government to open the diamond industry to largest players in the world is vital as this will revive the struggling economy, helping shore up the crippled foreign currency.
The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company extracted 2,4 million carats between January and October 2018, far higher than the 1,8 million carats achieved in 2017.
With the two major players coming on board the industry is likely going to increase output thus cushioning the country’s struggling economy.
London-listed Vast Resources and Botswana Diamonds have said they are planning to mine diamonds in Marange in partnership with a local community trust.
In Zimbabwe, minerals are a major foreign exchange earner, with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) saying on Thursday Zimbabwe received $90 million from royalty collections in 2018, boosted by platinum, diamond and gold earnings.
“The revenue head contributed $95.67 million against a target of $90m, translating to a positive variance of 6.30%. Revenue collections grew by 30.86% from the $73.11 million collected in 2017,” said Zimra in a statement.
Meanwhile, ten diamond auctions will be held in Zimbabwe over the course of 2019, doubling the number of such sales that were held in the previous calendar year. The state-owned Minerals and Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe has yet to decide on exact dates, but has confirmed the number of auctions scheduled for the coming twelve-month period.
The move, which would significantly increase opportunities for purchasing diamonds sourced in the country, is understood to be an effort by Government to clear its backlog of stockpiled stones. Zimbabwe is believed to be sitting on about 3.2 million carats of diamonds.
Production in the country’s diamond-rich Chiadzwa region has fallen short of expectations, and the government is considering expanding diamond production, hoping to churn out increased earnings.
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