DIAMOND Mining Corporation (DMC) wants government to consider allocating it a new concession, as the lifespan of its mine is only four years at the current extraction rate.
The revelations come at a time the company is selling the diamonds after being given the nod by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), a world body that regulates the trading of diamonds.
DMC, a joint venture between Zimbabwe Mining and Development Corporation (ZMDC) and Pure Diam of Dubai, is operating on 4 794 hectares in Manicaland province.
DMC deputy general manager, Gilliam Sithole, told Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai during his recent tour of Marange diamond fields that its plant has a throughput of 900 000 tonnes per annum with quantified reserves at 3,6 million tonnes.
“The lifespan of the mine at current throughput is four years,” he said.
Sithole said the company had milled 455 885 tonnes with a production of 611 585 carat at head grade of 1,34 carat per tonne which he said is generally lower than the grades obtaining in the region.
“In order to improve on the return on investment of DMC, government should consider allocating DMC a concession with diamondiferous conglomerates which have been known to carry a grade averaging +/- 6 carat per tonne,” he said.
Tsvangirai expressed concern on the high level of gem extraction at Marange diamond fields. He warned that such high levels of mining could result in the country exhausting its diamonds within 10 years.
“The fundamental challenge we face is the future of diamonds,” Tsvangirai said after the tour of the diamond fields. “I was alarmed that DMC says they are left with four years life span. Should we have all these companies and everyone flooding the market?”
Sithole said Pure Diam has already contributed US$35 million into the project. The investment excludes the US$7,5 million for the relocation of families from the diamond fields to Arda Transau.
DMC began production in August last year.
It is one of the four companies mining in the resource-rich Marange fields alongside Marange Resources, Mbada Diamonds and Anjin Investments.