Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Senior Reporter
STATE-owned diamond mining firm, Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) has grown its balance sheet to almost $250 million on the back of an intensive investment drive that sought to build asset value and increase production capacity over the past two years.
Speaking at an all-stakeholders diamond security conference held in Mutare recently, ZCDC chief executive Dr Morris Mpofu said the diamond company had recorded exponential growth since 2016.
“We continued to strengthen our balance sheet to create an attractive asset for investors and we are happy that our balance sheet has grown also over the two year period because of the investment thrust that we planned in terms of building asset value and building capacity for production.
“We are now at almost $250 million worth in terms of our balance sheet, which is a great achievement,” he said.
Dr Mpofu said the company expected to almost double production in 2018 following the commissioning of the new conglomerate crushing plant in Chidzwa this month.
The company’s production was 50 percent up in the first quarter, reaching 751 303 carats.
By the end of the year, ZCDC is targeting three million carats and 4,6 million carats by the end of 2019 when the plant is expected to be running at full capacity.
The conglomerate crushing plant is expected to commence production this month with an initial capacity of 200 tonnes per hour.
Dr Mpofu said the company had already received part of the equipment from Belarus that includes excavators and drill rigs, which are expected to increase feedstock into the conglomerate crushing plant to boost production.
He said ZCDC was expecting another consignment of equipment in the near future.
“The vision that we have is on the basis of the investment that we have done in the build up to achieve 10 million carats per year. What we need to do that, we have to continue to certify the reserves we have and to invest in exploration and evaluation.
“We also have to invest in mining capacity so that we generate enough feed to get into this plant,” said Dr Mpofu.
He said the company was also looking at investing in a Mega diamond recovery plant, which would facilitate the recovery of large diamonds.
Between 2018 and 2025, the miner expects to invest over $400 million in exploration and evaluation, mining, processing and diamond value management.
ZCDC has an expected mine life of 30 years and is currently sitting on 200 tonnes of ore which can translate to about 100 million carrats of rough diamonds.
Dr Mpofu said for this potential to be realised, there was need for proper investment into continuously enhancing production.
“But we need to ensure that there is financing available and foreign exchange to make sure this is a success,” he said.