Diamond industry to attract $1bn by 2023

18 Nov 2019

diamondsMining production from the country’s established diamond sector for the year 2023 is set to come in at US$1 billion, boosted by investments in exploration together with partnership deals, according to diamond industry officials. 

Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) is due to extend its exploration footprint around the nation by building on opportunities for joint ventures, said board chair engineer Killian Ukama, speaking to delegates during the recent all stakeholders Diamond indaba. 

Ukama noted the widespread interest in Zimbabwe’s diamond mining industry, with at least 13 different producers expressing their interest to begin exploration mining. The country has signed an agreement with Alarosa, the world’s largest producer of diamonds in carats. 

"The Diamond Industry is expected to contribute $1 billion to the mining industry contribution target of 12 billion by 2023 under government's Vision 2030.

"ZCDC is investing in exploration in partnership with other players in the diamond industry. We have received at least 13 expressions of interest in joint ventures, to spread its footprint in the country beyond Chiadzwa.

"It is hoped that such partnerships will yield positive results for growth of the diamond industry with the associated benefits such as increased revenue generation, employment creation, economic growth, infrastructural development and investments in downstream industries," said Ukama.

In order to work towards achieving these targets, engineer Ukama said a joint effort is needed to abandon the negative view ruled by what he called a dual portrayal of the government-owned company. 

Ukama called for a collaborative effort to safeguard the diamond sector against the negative perception of ZCDC.

"To fully unlock the value of diamonds it is critical that we jointly work towards building positive perceptions of our diamond industry. The perception of our organisation remains one marred by rumours, innuendo, untruths and an apparent lack of trust among stakeholders.

"As an industry which is driven by 'the feel-good factor' this obtaining situation has serious implications on the value of our diamonds. We need to unite in order to protect this asset," he said.

Deputy director of the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association Shamiso Mtisi said the negative reports surrounding the diamond industry in Zimbabwe can be dismissed by making room for responsible mining, transparency in declaring revenue and living up to international benchmarks. 

He noted that it is the government’s responsibility to recognise and tackle any possible negative repercussions of mining operations across the supply chain, as well as abiding by full disclosure regulations detailing disaggregated output. 

Mtisi noted that considering the massive potential for investment through parternships and joint ventures, the government must guarantee due diligence when evaluating any potential investors in the sector. 

"ZCDC must clean its image through action and join other diamond industry players who are promoting responsible mining practices.

"Responsible mining and sourcing has to be based on need to manage social, environmental or human rights related impacts of mining, including responding to community needs and national development needs and growth.

"Rough diamonds may be over-taken by synthetic diamonds if we do not rebrand them as ethically mined and mined from areas free of human rights abuses, environmental degradation and poor labour standards, synthetics are being marketed as clean and not tainted by human rights violations," said Mtisi.

"Give a national breakdown of Production from Marange voluntarily, if you are quite people will continue assuming the big guys are eating all the money from Marange, share disaggregated data of revenues, contracts signed and use of resources," concluded Mtisi.