Sparse Diamond Deposits Lead to Layoffs in Zimbabwe

July 4, 2014


As any miner will tell you, you can't mine what isn't there. In the Marange diamond deposits in the African nation of Zimbabwe this cold hard fact is leading to massive layoffs for miners in the diamond industry. According to diamond mining firms are expected to layoff as many as 400 diamond miners in the coming weeks since it has become economically unviable for digging any deeper.


Already, Chinese mining firms Anjin and Jinan have shut down diamond mining operations in the area due to the fact that the Marange deposits have run out of alluvial diamond deposits. Alluvial rocks are the ones closest to the surface and the easiest to mine.


Although there may be diamond deposits deeper in the ground, Zimbabwe's Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa has reiterated that the country has neither the expertise nor the resources to search for new deposits. Chidhakwa has issued a warning to diamond miners late in 2013 so while the news is depressing it is not surprising.


A major disappointment to the Zimbabwe government is China's reluctance to spend more digging deeper. The country has admitted it lacks the resources for deeper digging but was hoping China could provide much needed equipment and resources to continue with diamond mining operations. But, as Anjin and Jinan prepare to pull out, it is doubtful any other companies will fill the void.


Zimbabwe is one of the leading diamond producers, accounting for roughly 25% of the world's reserves. However, the loss of revenue from diamond mining could have a devastating impact on the country's weak economy.