Massive diamond fields discovered in Zimbabwe to save the country’s industry
A timely discovery of new diamond fields in Zimbabwe, unveiled by the government over the weekend, is set bring billions of dollars to the country’s weak economy and save its dying diamond industry.
The finding of vast unexplored fields in the Umkondo Basin —stretching over 10,000 square km— could be the life-saver the country was hoping for. This because it comes barely a month after companies operating at the Chiadzwa diamond fields, discovered in 2008, said underground mining was becoming too expensive because the alluvial diamond resources were running out.
These companies also said they had neither the expertise nor the resources to search for new deposits underground.
Sunday Mail has called this discovery the billion dollar diamond fields, though it appears very little exploration has taken place so far.
Deputy Mines minister Fred Moyo told the paper the government would use part of its national budget allocation to carry out exploration activities in the area.
"The Umkondo Basin is a reserved area. It has huge potential of diamond reserves and as government we need to urgently move in to determine where the diamonds are highly concentrated," he was quoted as saying.
Zimbabwe, one of the world’s top diamond-producing countries, is believed to hold 25% of the world's reserves of opencast extractable diamonds.
The country’s current major diamond source, the Marange fields, have been a focus of controversy since 20,000 small-scale miners invaded the area in 2008, being removed later by soldiers and police.
Human rights groups say up to 200 people were killed during the process, charges denied by the previous coalition government formed by President Robert Mugabe and long-time opponent Morgan Tsvangirai.
Images: Zimbabwe's diamonds miner, screenshot from VOAvideo.