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Beitbridge diamonds not real

by Staff reporter
02 Jan 2012 at 21:31hrs | Views
Tests have shown that stones which sparked a rush in Beitbridge recently were not diamonds but aquamarine stones, a Government minister has said.

Last November, scores of people descended on Ponongoma area, four kilometres North west of Zezane Mission desecrating graves after reports of a discovery of diamonds.

In an interview, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Gift Chimanikire said results of a survey carried out by the regional mining engineer Julius Moyo showed that the purported diamonds were gemstones similar to emeralds called aquamarine.

He said the stones were blue in colour and glittered like diamonds.

"Government has issued a prospecting licence to one miner to explore aquamarine stones in Beitbridge. It is possible that people contracted by the miner to dig the special stones went around the surrounding community telling villagers that there were diamonds in the area resulting in this scramble for "diamonds," he said.

Deputy Minister Chimanikire said following the scramble for the gemstones, his ministry deployed a regional mining engineer to establish whether the stones were genuine diamonds.

"Our regional mining engineer has confirmed that the stones that villagers in the area were scrambling for are not diamonds but are special stones called aquamarine," he said.

The prospecting licence to explore aquamarine stones in Beitbridge was issued to a Harare-based prospector Rasim Kassim.

He is still waiting for approval from Government for a licence to mine aquamarine minerals at the site.

Aquamarine is usually found in coastal areas.
Aquamarine mineral is pale greenish blue in colour and largely used as an alloy with copper to increase the metal's tensile strength, hardness and resistance.

A similar rush also occurred in Murehwa in September last year amid reports that the gemstones had been discovered in the area.

However, geologists in Mashonaland East province concluded that the stones were not diamonds but quartz. Quartz is one of the most abundant minerals, and as a major constituent in many rocks, it is an important rock-forming mineral.

It is estimated that 12 percent of the earth's surface is made up of  quartz.

The only known mining activities in Murehwa had been for black granite.

Zimbabwe made headlines when it made the biggest diamonds find in a century in the Marange area in Manicaland province about six years ago.

Following the discovery of diamonds, scores of illegal miners and dealers descended on the area, prompting Government to deploy security forces to secure the area.

The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme recently granted the country the right to sell its diamonds from Marange.

Source - chronicle