Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chiadzwa: President on fact-finding mission

Chiadzwa: President on fact-finding mission
Thursday, 16 June 2011 02:00
From Takunda Maodza in Chiadzwa

PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday went on a fact-finding mission of two Chiadzwa diamond mining firms, Sino-Zimbabwe and the Diamond Mining Corporation, to get firsthand appreciation of developments at the two firms.

Both companies, which are new players here, recently got claims joining Mbada Holdings, Mara-nge Resources and Anjin Investment that have been operational for sometime now.

Sino-Zimbabwe Diamonds is a joint venture be-tween the Zimbabwe Development Corporation and Chinese Investors, while DMC is a partnership between the same parastatal and Pure Diamonds.

Sino-Zimbabwe told President Mugabe that it ceased operations two months ago because the cla-im it was allocated did not have enough diamonds for viable commercial mining.

The company's mine manager, Mr Eli Sher, pleaded with the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces that they be allocated another claim rich in diamonds.

He claimed that Mbada Holdings and Marange Resources were allocated claims rich with some gems.

"We have finished testing the potential of the blo-ck (claim). The diamonds are not viable for economic mining. We found that the diamond quality in the area is poor. We did not expect all of them would be industrial," said Mr Grant Rau, Sino-Zim's chief geologist.

There is no activity at Sino-Zimbabwe and the company has since filed an application for another claim.

President Mugabe told Sino-Zimbabwe that the area it was eyeing was allocated to another company and encouraged the firm to carry on further exploration where it was allocated.

"What you are talking about has already been allocated to other people. People cannot just concentrate on one place. We need to spread," he said.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu, who was part of the delegation, confirmed that the area Sino-Zimbabwe wanted was allocated to another company.

"You are looking at an area that has been allocated already. Exhaust the blocks that you asked for initially," he said.

According to Mr Rau, 12 195.7 tonnes of material were taken to the processing plant for diamonds, recovering only 239 diamond pieces equivalent to 521 carats.

Sino-Zimbabwe started operations in January this year only to shut down four months later.

But ZMDC chairman, Mr Godwills Masimire-mbwa, told journalists that the area had potential like any other diamond claims at Chiadzwa.

"The way forward is for us and Sino-Zimbabwe to work together and carry out further exploration. The area available for exploration is huge. There are diamonds in this area but the area that has been explored is very small. The nature of this resource requires exploration and money has to be sunk into exploration," he said.

President Mugabe then visited DMC where he was impressed with what he saw.
The company, which is yet to start mining, has embarked on massive construction work and is in the processing of installing what its mine manager, Mr Vic Botha, said: "was the largest diamond processing machine Marange has seen today."

The DMC has not started any mining activities but the company has already invested US$25 million at its claim.

It has also started building houses for 114 families set to be relocated from its claim when it starts operating full throttle on July 15.

Speaking to journalists after touring the DMC, President Mugabe said: "I think we are happy...They should continue with the good work. We are waiting for actual production."

He said companies that were given licences to mine diamonds at Chiadzwa should fulfil their objectives for the benefit of the country.

President Mugabe reiterated that "with sanctions or no sanctions," Zimbabwe was going to sell its diamonds.

Senior Government officials, among them Minister of State Security in the President's Office Sydney Sekeramayi, were part of the delegation that visited Chiadzwa yesterday.

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