Zimbabwe Mine Running out of Diamonds

Murowa mine Zimbabwe

The Murowa mine, in Zimbabwe, reported a 15 per cent drop in its diamond production for 2020 as known deposits begin to run dry.

Owners RioZim said it was exploring sites near the three kimberlites pipes currently being worked in the southern central Midlands Province.

Rough output in the year ending 31 December 2020 from the RioZim associate RZM Murowa Private Limited was 579,000 carats, down from 685,000 carats the previous year.

RioZim chairman Saleem Rashid Beebeejaun said the main reason for the drop in yields was that the mine had been processing low-grade resources from its K2 pipe. High-grade resources at K1 have become depleted.

But firm gold prices helped the minerals and mining parent company RioZim bounce back with a $454m profit in 2020, after a $584m loss in 2020.

Source: John Jeffay IDEX

Who wins and who loses in the rush for diamonds?

Zimbabwe Diamond Production

The list of hardships and suffering linked to Zimbabwe’s diamond mines is growing longer by the day.

Since diamonds were discovered in the Marange fields in 2001, non-governmental organisations have been looking into abuse and dodgy dealings:

Human rights violations;
Opaque business deals;
Unfair treatment of residents;
Diamond smuggling.

The Marange diamond fields are in Chiadzwa, Mutare District, in eastern Zimbabwe. Thousands of people have been displaced to make way for mining operations.

Chinese mining companies and the Harare government made big promises to the displaced people, and their hopes are fading, with people saying they were duped to move out of their ancestral lands.

When Zimbabwean villagers from Chiadzwa were relocated to Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda) Transau, a state-owned farm in Odzi, about 40km from Mutare, to pave way for diamond mining, they were promised better life by both the government and several Chinese mining companies.

The government relocated more than 1 200 villagers from Chiadzwa to Arda Transau in 2009 after forcibly removing, in a bloody crackdown, more than 20 000 small-scale miners who had invaded the once-rich diamond fields in 2006.

Promises, promises

Arable lands, a US$5 000 compensation fee, grazing lands, schools and jobs are some of what the relocated residents were promised.

Chinese mining companies that were among the seven companies given mining rights include Jinan and Anjin — a company jointly owned by Chinese company Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company Limited and Matt Bronze, a company owned by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

When the government under Zimbabwe’s long-time ruler, the late Robert Mugabe, took over the diamond fields through the newly formed Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) in 2016, some of the relocated villagers were hopeful that the move would improve their livelihoods.

Anjin was against Mugabe’s move and took his government to court.

In 2019, Anjin joined mining companies ZCDC in Chiadzwa after it was given back its mining license following pressure from Beijing on President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who came to power after Mugabe was toppled through a military coup in November 2017.

Hopes fading away

Many relocated residents say they got an unfair deal. They are living in dilapidated houses while their children are learning in makeshift classes. This is no clean water and few jobs.

“When I relocated to this area in 2010, this house was already cracking,” Jason Musiyanga (40), a father of three, said.

Musiyanga, whose name has been changed to protect his identity for fear of reprisal, says no one is coming to his rescue.

“I am living in fear. One day, this four-roomed house might just fall while I am asleep with my family,” he said.

Not enough to go around

Nomore Mamombe 51 said his one-hectare piece of land was not enough to accommodate his family of seven children with four of them married.

“Back in Chiadzwa, I had a 16-hectare piece of land which was enough for my children to build their own houses when they get married. Now we are sharing this four-roomed house,”  Mamombe said.

“It is against my Shona culture for me to share the same house with my daughters-in-law.”

Looking for answers

Neither the government nor the companies are claiming responsibility for the hardships of the residents of Arda Transau.

Each group of villagers was relocated by each of the seven companies that had been granted mining licenses by the government.

Musiyanga was relocated by Anjin, while Mamombe was relocated by Jinan.

Mines minister Winston Chitando did not respond to questions sent to him by The Africa Report.

Anjin secretary Richard Mahoya, in a telephone interview, requested the questions to be sent to him via email.

They were sent, and he acknowledged receipt, but he had not yet responded by the time of publishing.

No property security

“The Chinese built nearly 1 000 houses for over 1 200 households,” according to the Arda Transau Relocation Development Trust (ATRDT).

Tawanda Mufute, the ATRDT secretary, said they did not have title deeds to their properties.

“We have made strides for us to get title deeds but our efforts were fruitless. There are fears that if another mineral like gold is found where we are now, we might be relocated again. We do not have any property security,” he said.

Mufute added that the population had since grown and villagers were now competing for the few available resources.

“Our population is now more than 9 000,” he said.

A single school

The relocated villagers are sharing one school which was constructed by Anjin.

“Our primary school has a population of more than 1 200 pupils. This is against four blocks that were built by Anjin. Parents have also built another block, but they are inadequate. Some pupils are learning in makeshifts classes,” Mufute said.

He added that the relocated villagers were yet to be compensated by the Chinese companies.

“In terms of compensation, the families are yet to receive the US$5 000 compensation fee which they were promised. They were only given US$1 000 as a disturbance allowance when they were relocated,” Mufute said.

No clear lines of responsibility

Mufute said it was not clearly outlined who should be responsible for these relocated Chiadzwa villagers between the government and Anjin.

“It is all about blame games. The government is saying it is the Chinese companies yet the Chinese companies are saying they are waiting to hear from the government,” said Mufute.

Pleasing investors at the expense of the indigenous people’

Simiso Mlevu, spokesperson for Centre for Natural Resource Governance, said it was the responsibility of government to take care of the socio-economic needs of the people.

“The predicament of the people of Arda Transau simply shows that the government does not have people-centric policies,” she said.

“Our policies are aimed at pleasing the investors at the expense of indigenous people. Indigenous communities need to enjoy economic, cultural and social security in their own country.”

Shamiso Mtisi, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association’s deputy director, said it was important for government to comply with constitutional provisions related to evictions of communities.

“Government and companies must provide people with adequate information on displacement implementation plans including associated costs, compensation levels, where people will go, what they will get including time frames,” he explains.

Source: The Africa Report

Alrosa, ZCDC JV starts prospecting for diamonds in Zimbabwe

Alrosa mining

Alrosa Zimbabwe (Alrosa Zim), a joint venture (JV) between Russian diamond miner Alrosa and Zimbabwe State-owned miner Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), has started prospecting and preliminary exploration works for primary diamond deposits.

After getting special grants from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Alrosa Zim had the environmental-impact assessment (EIA) approved by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), and is set to begin prospecting and exploration in the Masvingo, Matebeleland South and Matebeleland North provinces of Zimbabwe.

In July, Alrosa Zim’s geologists started geochemical sampling, trenching and pitting in Malipati zone, with ground geophysical surveys to follow.

The same prospecting work, including airborne geophysical surveys, is set to be conducted in the Maitengwe area towards the end of year.

Bulk sampling and drilling are set to begin in 2021.

“Following the signing of a JV agreement with ZCDC to develop diamond deposits in Zimbabwe in December 2019, we are progressing well towards the initiation of the full-scale prospecting works this year.

“Being a member of Responsible Jewellery Council, the World Diamond Council and the Natural Diamond Council, Alrosa complies in full with all industry commitments on responsible business practices and its own corporate standards.

“Alrosa is committed to follow these principles strictly while working in Zimbabwe, minimising adverse environmental impact in all areas of activities and using mineral resources comprehensively and rationally,” says Alrosa deputy CEO Vladimir Marchenko.

Alrosa expects to investment $12-million in Zimbabwe from 2020 to 2022.

Alrosa holds 70% of Alrosa Zimbabwe, and ZCDC the balance. The JV focuses on prospecting, exploration and mining of primary diamond deposits in Zimbabwe. 

Source: miningweekly

Zimbabwe to Take Smaller Cut of Diamond Sales

A Rough Diamond from Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe plans to reduce the percentage of sales diamond miners must pay to the state, aiming to encourage companies to invest in the Marange fields.

The government proposed a new royalty rate of 10% in the annual budget last week. Diamond producers currently pay 15% of gross revenues, but their overall costs have escalated as they shift toward hard-rock — or “conglomerate” — mining, which is lucrative but expensive.

The change could benefit companies such as Russia’s Alrosa, which is exploring for rough in the country, as well as Botswana Diamonds and Vast Resources, which operate a joint venture at the Marange fields.

“The royalty rate of 15% on diamonds was set during the period when mining was predominantly alluvial, and extraction cost was relatively low,” Mthuli Ncube, minister of finance and economic development, explained in his budget statement. “However, diamond miners are [now] exploiting conglomerate deposits, hence the cost of extraction has significantly increased.”

Last year, the state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company installed a crushing plant at Marange to help it process the harder rock. The nation plans to increase its annual production to 11 million carats by 2023, from 3.2 million carats in 2018, Reuters reported last month.

The state intends to introduce the lower royalty rate on January 1 with the goal of attracting investment in exploration and extraction. The country has also made progress in its plans to repeal an “indigenization” law limiting foreign ownership of diamond and platinum mines, Ncube continued.

Source: Diamonds.net