Murowa Diamonds intends to commission its processing plant during the next quarter as part of a broader expansion programme expected to more than double its production capacity, an official has said.
The project, which entails migrating from open pit to underground operations, will see the firm processing 500 000 tonnes of ore per month from 190 000 tonnes, Mr Wilson Gwatiringa, spokesperson for RioZim, which owns Murowa, said.
“It is a massive investment that bodes well with Government’s vision to grow the sector,” said Mr Gwatiringa.
The mining sector remains one of the key industries expected to anchor economic revival.
Zimbabwe is seeking to boost mineral exports to US$12 billion by 2023 and significant milestones have since been made. This will help the country attain upper middle-income status under Vision 2030.
Under the mining roadmap, gold is expected to contribute US$4 billion, platinum US$3 billion while chrome, iron, steel, diamonds and coal will contribute US$1 billion.
Lithium is expected to contribute US$500 million and $1,5 billion will come from other minerals.
The current phase, expected to cost US$52 million, would extend the life of the Murowa mine by four years.
The construction of the underground mine would require US$400 million, said Mr Gwatiringa.
During the first quarter of 2021, about 702 639 carats were produced nationally, surpassing the previous quarter and same period in 2020 by 20.3% and 15%, respectively.
In the outlook to year-end, national diamond production is projected at three million carats, driven by anticipated ramping up of production by current producers taking advantage of the ongoing investments in exploration and mine development, as well as the anticipated resumption of operations at Anjin in June 2021.
Last year, Alrosa Zim said it had begun preliminary exploration work for commercially viable primary diamond deposits in the country and was looking to invest US$12 million.