Alrosa, ZCDC On Extensive Exploration Venture
ALROSA Zimbabwe (Alrosa Zim), a joint venture between Russia’s leading diamond producer, Alrosa and the country’s State-owned miner, the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company, says it has started exploration works in Matabeleland and Masvingo provinces.
The development was confirmed by acting ZCDC CEO, Roberto DePreto who indicated that after securing special grants from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Alrosa Zim has hit the ground running
He said while the mine development may take a few years before proper mining commences, as Alrosa is focusing on deep deposits of conglomerate diamonds, it was an encouraging sign that they are ready to start exploration works.
“We signed a joint venture with Alrosa where they get 70 percent and we get 30 percent as ZC DC, this Joint Venture is certainly a good example where we are bringing in one of the world’s largest diamond producers to make sure
This is positive news for us and it’s very encouraging to see that Alrosa has really hit the road running as we speak right now they are busy setting up their camp in Malipati and Masvingo and they are already starting to down exploration work down there.
“Exploration is a long process, they are not going to mine within the year or two it takes some time and at least they have started now doing the ground work,” said DePreto.
DePreto also revealed that with current ongoing challenges the country will fail to reach its target of doubling last year 1.6 million carats produced as the sector has been heavily impacted by the corona virus.
Civic society observers say it may be premature to celebrate possibility of the availability of the precious stones in the above-mentioned provinces, as gains could still be eroded by poor management as prevailed in Chiadzwa.
Zimbabwe lost over USD15 billion worth of diamonds through smuggling and unsustainable deal involving some to government officials and institutions fingered incorrupt activities which saw the country losing diamond revenue.
Kimberly Process Civl Society Coalition (KPCSC) Shamiso Mutisi said the world largest diamond producer had chosen to focus on other areas because of the controversial legacy issues associated with Chiadzwa diamond fields.
Mutisi is also deputy director of Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) which has engaged in extensive works in Marange, seeking environmental and human rights justice for communities that reside in the fields.
ZELA has conducted extensive empirical research on the impacts of diamond mining on the community, it has documented several human rights abuses, litigated on behalf of the communities to stop arbitrary evictions of families.
Mutisi said these legacy issues on environment and human rights, are the issues that Alarosa seeks to avoid as an international diamond producer of repute.
“Alarosa is interested in kimberlites and they seek to persue green field projects in Malipati and Matengwe, through our engagement with Alrosa, we have engaged with them like we do with investors who have reputations to protect.
“For Alarosa, because we have interacted with them, we know for Marange it’s definitely about reputation, they did not want to be associated with all the legacy issues whether it’s the environment, human rights issues and all other issue in Marange.
“It’s quite important to them because they have said they want to bring international based standards, they have principles on sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, they want to stick to UN guiding principles on human rights.
“Those are the kind of standards they are talking about, so it’s quite important that as we develop mining frameworks, that we look at international best standards to make our diamonds shine,” said Mutisi.