22 new diamond deposits have been discovered in Zimbabwe. The country’s Head of State President, Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that the discovery was made by Russian miner Alrosa PSJC.
The firm will however only be allowed to work on two of the diamond deposits while the rest will be made available to other investors. In 2019, Alrosa signed an agreement with the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corp. to jointly explore for gems in the country. At the time, the company said it would spend $12 million exploring some of the 40 diamond mining rights it holds in the country.
Many in the diamond industry refuse to deal in Russian gems following the invasion of Ukraine and after mining giant Alrosa was hit with US sanctions. Mnangagwa said there was interest from US-based investors in a number of sectors including mining and agriculture. A group of those investors will come to the country next month to look at opportunities.
Mining sector in Zimbabwe accounts for about 12% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), and the minister of mines claims the sector has the potential to generate US$12 billion annually by 2023 if the government addresses challenges such as persistent power shortages, foreign currency shortages, and policy uncertainties.
The country prides itself in having the second-largest platinum deposit and high-grade chromium ores in the world, with approximately 2.8 billion tons of PGM and 10 billion tons of chromium ore. Aside from diamond, other predominant minerals include platinum group metals (PGM), chrome, gold, and coal.