State diamond firm seeks $300mln for equipment, ops

State diamond firm seeks $300mln for equipment, ops

By Kuda Chideme, MARANGE, Jan 13 (The Source) – The state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC, which has no equipment of its own, says it is in discussions with local banks to secure up to $300 million worth of credit to finance the purchase of mining gear and expansion of its operations.

President Robert Mugabe’s government shut down eight minimg firms operating in the Marange fields last year, consolidating their assets and operations into ZCDC.

At least two of the shut mines, China’s Anjin and Mbada Diamonds, which government wanted to take up 50 percent shareholding in ZCDC, have since gone to court to contest the asset seizure.

ZCDC chief executive Ridge Nyashanu told The Source that the company has no equipment of its own and has to resort to hiring.

“Going forward, we are looking at recapitalizing and the total cost required would come up to about $300 million,” said Nyashanu.

“We have been in talks with local banks and other private finance houses and the negotiations are quite encouraging. We should be able to come up with an arrangement soon.”

Nyashanu said the money would be used to purchase equipment and upgrade fixed plant.

Last year, ZCDC secured a $30 million facility from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for the purchase of equipment from Belarus.

Diamond output from the Marange fields has plummeted since the forced merger, with 2016 production coming to a paltry 900,000 carats from peak figures of 12 million carats annually.