Dramatic Fall in Zimbabwe’s Diamond Production

Walter Chidhakwa
Walter Chidhakwa

Harare: Zimbabwe’s mines minister Walter Chidhakwa said the fall in the production of diamonds in the country over the past years has been “dramatic” and he is not “so sure we have a diamond sector” at the moment.

Diamond output in the country had been on a downward trajectory as alluvial miners in Marange claimed that their concessions had run dry.

The Kimberley Process’ latest data showed that Zimbabwe’s output dipped by 56 percent to $238.6 million in 2014 while its volume plunged 55 percent to 4.771 million carats.

The country was projected to produce 3,360 million carats this year, according to the local chamber of mines.

“The fall was so dramatic and trying to find the reasons and establish that there hasn’t been much exploration. No! That is an understatement, there was no exploration,” he told delegates gathered in Harare at a mining indaba.

“The companies that went in to mine diamonds, went into alluvial and got satisfied with the amount of work they were doing and they alluvials started coming down. They are finite, somewhere along the line they would come to an end…”

Chidhakwa said the diamond miners in Marange did not plan what they would do once the alluvials got depleted. “This is why today we are in a situation that we are finding ourselves in,” he said.

Chidhakwa said companies in Marange did not bring enough capital as was agreed with government for not only mining alluvials, but also for exploration. He said that the diamond sector in the country gave him “nightmares”.

“…so we are moving ahead with the consolidation, it’s a government policy and I hope the companies involved will realise that every nation has got policies, rules, regulations and in this case we will make sure that the companies abide by them,”Chidhakwa said.

He sensationally revealed that some of the diamond mining companies had also not submitted their audited financial statements as required by the law. He said they become “emotional” whenever they are asked to hand in their financial statements.