STATE-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) has applied for exclusive diamond prospecting rights in an area covering 38 573 hectares located in Chihota, Mashonaland East province.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
In a general notice 1 093 of 2020, government said: “It is hereby notified, in terms of section 87(4) of the Mines and Minerals Act Chapter 21:05 that Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company Private Limited has applied to the Mining Affairs Board for an exclusive prospecting order, over an area described in the schedule in the Mashonaland East mining district in relation to map reference Chegutu SE 36-9 second edition and of the scale 1:250 000, produced by the surveyor general.”
ZCDC intends to prospect for diamonds within areas which have been reserved against prospecting pending determination of this application.
An exclusive Prospecting Order gives mining companies express rights to search for minerals and peg claims in designated areas.
However, concern has been raised that some companies are not scouting for minerals but are only holding EPOs for speculative purposes.
“An area of approximately 38 573 hectares in extent, situate in Mashonaland East provincial mining district bounded by a line commencing at a point grid reference (36KTR 283855-8004013) which is approximately 17,2km southeast of Trig beacon 4714 Cecil,” the notice further read.
As alluvial diamonds are running out in the Marange area, the company is desperately exploring other areas.
ZCDC has put in place an ambitious target to produce 4,1 million carats this year.
At its peak in 2012, the country produced 12 million carats, before production plummeted to 2,8 million carats in 2018.
Amid fierce resistance, authorities in 2015 directed a consolidation of all diamond mining companies in Zimbabwe to form ZCDC. Private mining firms were ordered to terminate operations, leave their equipment and evacuate premises.
Chinese firm, Anjin conjointly owned by Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company Ltd and Matt Bronze, an army investment vehicle has since been directed to commence operations in Chiadzwa.
Government last July launched an ambitious roadmap for the achievement of a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023.