Zimbabwe Seeks Partners to Explore kimberlites

Harare: Zimbabwe said it has more than 100 kimberlites dotted across the country, but is need of partners to establish if they are economical.

Zimbabwe currently has a single operational kimberlite mine, Murowa Diamonds in Zvishavane, which was 78-percent owned by Rio Tinto until recently. The second known kimberlite mine, River Ranch, was currently mothballed.

There were reports of a kimberlite find in Bikita some few years ago, but mining officials said that it was not economical.

“We need partners so we can explore the kimberlites,” deputy minister of mines and mining developments Fred Moyo told an indaba in Harare.

The southern African country emerged as one of the leading diamond producers a few years ago mainly due to the discovery of Marange alluvial diamond fields in 2006.

However, output had been on a downward trajectory since 2013 following a peak in production a year earlier. The official position was that the alluvial diamond deposits had dwindled and the miners should dig deeper to access conglomerates.

But the majority of the miners asked for fresh concessions citing lack of capital to go underground. Harare turned a deaf ear on their pleas and had since suggested a consolidation of all diamond mining activities in the country. The move, it argued, was meant to improve transparency and accountability.