ZCDC upbeat, acquires new equipment from Belarus

ZIMBABWE Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) is focussing on recapitalisation following a prolonged run of poor production at the controversially acquired diamond fields in Marange.

By Obey Manayiti/Elias Mambo

ZCDC has acquired some new heavy machinery from Belarus for kimberlitic mining following a grant extended to the company by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

In its presentation to the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Mines recently, ZDCD expressed hope to optimise business in the diamond fields.

ZCDC said it hoped to “capitalise to resuscitate mobile equipment and upgrade the fixed plant, ensure efficient all-year-round screening capability, iIntroduce a robust maintenance system and introduce a robust project management system”.

The company also said it wanted to expand production to 600 tonnes per hour by July 2017 and refurbish Mbada Diamonds’ fixed plant by June.

ZCDC is also planning to expand its mining operations in Marange.

Concern has been raised over poor production since the takeover from other companies including Mbada Diamonds, Jinan, Anjin, DMC and Marange Resources last year.

Although some of the companies have contested the decision, Mbada Diamonds got a reprieve when the High Court ordered ZCDC off its claim although the company has constantly breached the order.

Besides acquiring new machinery from Belarus, ZCDC has bought Mbada Diamonds equipment worth US$7,5 million.

ZCDC boss Morris Mpofu confirmed they have acquired earth movers, dump trucks and bulldozers which are set to increase production in Marange. He said some of the machinery is already at the mine.

“The total consignment that we are expecting is 21 dump trucks and seven bulldozers. These are earth moving equipment which is used in the haulage of diamond ore. We are expecting another batch soon and we have already received documentation for shipment,” he said.

“The arrival of this new Belarus equipment will reduce dependence on contract mining which has been prohibitive in terms of costs so the equipment itself is going to create additional capacity so that we increase capacity utilisation to levels that are 80%. The equipment itself will result in operational efficiency.”

Mpofu said as they would be going into conglomerate mining they will conduct extensive exploration so as to come out with bankable reserves.

He said ZCDC would be expecting higher quality diamonds as compared to the time during alluvial mining.

The company is yet to come up with projections on the actual expected quantity of gems but the 80% is on capacity utilisation of the mine.

He said the country should, however, expect a significant rise on the diamond production.

“We are not giving projections on the quantity as of now. Like I have said, we are embarking on exploration and evaluation to increase our confidence levels,” he said.

“At the moment it’s too early to have that. Even the equipment we have acquired will take about 3 months to assemble and for it to have an impact on production.”