Alrosa sticks to Zim diamond plan

Alrosa, the world’s largest diamond producer by output, says COVID-19 has not altered its exploration in Zimbabwe and the company plans additional concessions this quarter.

The Russian company entered into a joint venture with the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) in 2019, forming a local unit in which Alrosa holds 70%. Under that joint venture, Alrosa has initially targeted diamond prospects in Chimanimani, on claims that were previously held by DTZ-Ozgeo, another Russian joint venture, as well as other greenfield deposits.

Last year, Alrosa cut its production by 22% to 30 million carats as it suspended mining at less profitable sites in response to weak demand, a result of COVID-19. But, despite this, Alrosa says it is continuing with its exploration plan in Zimbabwe.

The company intends to “accelerate its activities” in Zimbabwe, CEO Sergey Ivanov said recently. Alrosa already holds 25 prospecting concessions in Zimbabwe, and expects to add another “15 by late February to early March,” he told Bloomberg.

Alrosa’s  announcement that it was investing in Zimbabwe, back in January 2019, was a major boost for Zimbabwe. But  COVID-19 has since delayed Alrosa’s Zimbabwe exploration.

At one of the targeted concessions, Malipati, a special grant that spans Matabeleland South and Masvingo, moves towards building a diamond washing plant were delayed last year.

Alrosa reported sales revenue of US$2.8 billion in 2020. –