Uncut diamonds

Diamond production output declined by six percent in the first quarter from 603 000 carats last year to 567 000 carats this year owing to transitional constraints.

The slump in production of gemstones in the first quarter has been attributed to transitional constraints as former miners were fighting the consolidation process which saw the formation of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC).

Latest figures from fiscal authorities for the first quarter indicated that the company has managed 567 000 carats in the first three months compared to 603 000 carats the same period last year.

Government is projecting 1.9 million carats this year on back of the recapitalisation process that is expected to see full production at the ZCDC.

The diamond mining firm has so far taken delivery of new mining equipment worth US$30 million which is expected to push production figures upwards in the second half of the year.

The mining sector is anticipated to rake in about US$3 billion in export earnings during 2017, given the rebound in most international mineral prices, including those of chrome.

The projected growth of about 5.1 percent is being driven largely by key minerals of gold, platinum group of metals,  chrome and nickel including lower output for some minerals such as coal, gold and diamonds.