by TINO PEPUKAI
CHIREDZI – ZIMBABWE has set itself a lofty target of increasing its diamonds output by over 300 percent by 2030.
The country hopes to produce 12 billion carats by 2030, up from 2,8 billion carats currently produced from Chiadzwa fields in the east.
The confirmation by a cabinet minister follows the hiring of a South African company to explore the precious stones in the south-eastern parts of Zimbabwe.
Airborne Geophysics has been hired to work with local firm, Aerosurv, in the Chiredzi and Mwenezi districts.
In the shorter term, Zimbabwe aims to produce 10 billion carats by 2023.
Winston Chitando, Zimbabwean Minister of Mines and Minerals Development, said the exploration of the minerals would be done on a 9000 km2 stretch of land in Chiredzi and Mwenezi.
“The two companies will explore on a 9 000 square kilometers stretch looking for alluvial diamond deposits,” he said.
The developments come a few weeks after Zimbabwe secured a US$95 million loan facility from neighbouring Botswana to develop its diamond industry.
Botswana is among top diamond producing countries in Africa.
Zimbabwe derives most of its foreign currency from minerals such as coal, diamonds, gold, among others in addition to tobacco crop, which is referred to as the golden leaf because of prominent role in foreign currency earnings.’
The mining of diamonds have in recent years been marred by controversy.
In 2009, illegal miners swarmed Gwaseche area in the southern Sengwe communal lands following reports of the availability of alluvial diamond deposits in the area.
Illicit miners from as far as the capital Harare, some 600 kilometres away, descended on the area.
However, tests by the mines ministry concluded the area did not have diamonds.
In 2006, thousands of illegal miners flocked Chiadzwa following the discovery of alluvial diamonds.
Human rights violations by security forces were alleged.
– CAJ News