George Maponga in Masvingo
MUROWA Diamonds has started exploration for gems in Sese communal lands in Chivi in Masvingo province where the firm has nearly 200 claims.
Murowa mines diamonds in Zvishavane in the Midlands but has 199 claims in Chivi, which are concentrated around the Sese area. It is believed the diamond belt under exploitation in Zvishavane by Murowa extends into neighbouring Chivi district.
The diamond miner is exploring to establish the gem resource and commercial viability on two of its claims at Danhamombe Primary School in Sese. The exercise is billed to run for two years with final exploration results expected at the end of next year when the gem extractor will announce a decision on whether or not to start full-scale mining.
Chivi Rural District Council chief executive Mr Tariro Matavire confirmed Murowa was on the ground exploring for diamonds.
“They (Murowa) approached us to inform they were now moving onto some of their claims to start exploring for diamonds and they are drilling holes at Danhamombe Primary School sports ground where they are taking samples for laboratory examination to determine the quality of the gem resource together with the size and commercial viability, which will determine whether to start full scale mining or not,” he said.
“The company has 199 diamond mining claims in Chivi but they are working on two claims and unconfirmed reports indicate the tests taking place now will run for two years,’’ he said.
Mr Matavire said both Danhamombe Primary and Secondary schools and adjacent communities will be relocated if Murowa discovers commercially exploitable diamonds.
“The firm will use open-cast mine, which means there will be relocation of schools, villages and other facilities if diamonds are discovered in Sese.’’
He said Chivi RDC and Murowa will continue to engage over outstanding development levy, which saw the two dragging each other to court.
Murowa in denying culpability to pay the levy was arguing that it was not actively operating in Chivi district hence there was no obligation to pay the local authority. On the contrary council argued that since Murowa held diamond claims, it was liable to paying the levy whether or not it is exploiting the mineral.
If Murowa discovers rich diamond resources in Chivi, the mining of the mineral will spur the district’s development.
Diamond exploration is also underway in Mwenezi where the Zimbabwe Consolidated Mining Company is conducting an aero-magnetic survey. Masvingo has a diverse minerals resources base as the province is home to gold, coal and lithium.