Saturday, November 14, 2009

(HERALD) Mining in full swing at Chiadzwa

Mining in full swing at Chiadzwa
From Takunda Maodza in Chiadzwa

Canadile Miners and Mbada Mining (Pvt) Ltd, the two firms recently licensed by the Government to mine in the Chiadzwa diamond fields, have started work. State-of-the-art plants worth millions of United States dollars have been set up and rough diamonds for export are being processed.

The two firms are partnering the Government in exploiting the kimberlitic pipes in the eastern district. Investigations by The Herald indicate that more investors might soon join those already on the ground. Among them are a Chinese concern and a South African company called Community Energy. The Chinese are reported to have visited the diamond fields last week.

Mbada Mining (Pvt) Ltd has already started mining diamonds after successfully test-running its plant a fortnight ago.

Though Mbada officials refused to comment on their operations, The Herald is reliably informed that the firm’s plant — with a capacity to handle 30 000 tonnes of ore per hour — is running non-stop.

The company is in the process of erecting another plant with a capacity to process 100 000 tonnes of ore per hour.

"By the time they are fully operational around April next year, they shall have four plants in Chiadzwa," insiders revealed.

Mbada Mining is believed to be jointly owned by local businesspersons and some South Africans.

The investors have turned the Chiadzwa diamond fields into a hive of organised activity in just two months.

An airstrip and a 20km road are under construction while top-of-the-range security cameras have been installed throughout the diamond fields with security tightened by double electric fencing.

Well-equipped private security guards are all over the fields and it is hard to believe that it was not long ago that illegal panners and other criminal elements wreaked havoc and perpetuated chaos with impunity.

Uniformed and plainclothes army and police personnel are also on the ground to boost security.

Canadile Miners says it has so far invested over US$10 million into the operation.

There are indications that its plant is likely to be commis-

sioned next week.

Canadile management opened up on their plans for Chiadzwa.

Canadile local representative Mr Lovemore Kurotwa said they were awaiting clearance to start mining.

"This is our second month on the ground. All mining equipment from excavators, earthmovers to density medium separators are on site.

"Today we did a test-run of the plant and we are happy with the results.

"We are now waiting for the necessary authorisation from the relevant authorities before we can start full-time mining," said Mr Kurotwa.

He said Canadile Miners had addressed all concerns raised by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

"They (concerns) were quite numerous, ranging from security to having hands-free type equipment (where diamonds are not handpicked)," Mr Kurotwa said.

He said there was a drastic reduction in illegal panning activities at the diamonds fields since their arrival.

The Herald did not see any panners.

"We have just finished our phase one project. The number of phases depends on the size of the claims.

"The company has the capacity to commission three phases," explained Mr Kurotwa.

He said Canadile Miners had all the specialised equipment needed for diamond mining and more would be imported as and when the need arose.

Asked who was behind Canadile Miners, Mr Kurotwa said: "They are investors from South Africa.

"I am their local representative. This operation is in partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe.

"Canadile Miners has its plant near Odzi River for easy access to water while Mbada Mining (Pvt) Ltd is stationed deep into the fields."

Sources say the two companies were allotted 1 000-hectare claims each.

These are not part of the claims under dispute between the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and the privately-owned African Consolidated Resources.

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