Mbada overtakes Murowa as Zimbabwe's biggest producer

Mbada Mines (Pvt) Ltd, which operates in Zimbabwe's Marange diamond area, is producing more than 150,000 carats a month, surpassing Rio Tinto's Murowa mine as the country's largest diamond producer, according to the firm's chairman, Robert Mhlanga. Rio Tinto's Murowa diamond mine produced 178,000 carats in 2010 and 125,000 in the first half of 2011.

"Our vision is to be the leading gem producer globally," Mhlanga told Bloomberg in Harare, where the company is based.

Mbada is one of four companies currently mining diamonds in Marange.  While Mhlanga declined to tell the news source how many diamonds are currently being produced at the Marange fields, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has said publicly that annual income from Marange could rise to US$2 billion if the country is allowed to export gems freely.