MUTARE, May 16 (The Source) – Russian miner DTZ-OZGEO says its diamond operations in the east of the country will produce 50,000 carats of gems per month at full capacity by end of year after exploration, an official said on Friday.
DTZ-OZGEO, a 60/40 joint venture between Econendra of Russia and the Development Trust of Zimbabwe, is one of the six miners operating in the east of the country.
Last month, the government’s environmental agency closed its alluvial gold mining operations at Redwing mine over environmental concerns.
In 2012, it signed an agreement on technical cooperation with Alrosa – a global Russian diamond miner when it started exploring for diamonds in the area.
According to government, DTZ has been part of the three diamond auctions held in Antwerp, Belgium and Dubai.
Spokesperson, Clara Ngwenya said the company had imported machinery from South Africa and Russia.
“We invested $20 million for acquisition of the high-tech diamond plant in Chimanimani. This figure excludes what we spent on exploration,” said Ngwenya.
“We expect to reach full capacity by the end of this year.”
Alrosa is the world’s largest diamond producer by volume, accounting for over a third of global rough diamond production.
Russia is the largest diamond producer and its 2013 production is estimated at 33 million carats, with Alrosa accounting for about 97 percent.
Alrosa also sits on the largest rough diamond reserves in the world, with operations in Angola and Botswana.
“Zimbabwe is of interest for the geological exploration and, possibly, for the establishment of joint diamond-mining enterprises,” Alrosa said on its website.