Karhu Mining Oy and Firestone Diamonds to Develop Europes First Diamond Mine
Finnish miners Karhu Mining Oy and British company Firestone Diamonds are to combine their efforts in a bid to open Europe’s first ever diamond mine.
The site in question is a four-hectare open-pit mine at Lahtojoki which is 30 kilometres east of the city of Kuopio, eastern Finland, with an eight-year operating project earmarked.
With production aimed to start in the second year, the mine will process about 600,000 tonnes of ore from a total annual extraction of 1.9 million tonnes.
According to the Finnish broadcasting corporation Yle, Karhu Mining has applied for a mining patent survey from the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency Tukes, which is the first step in the process to open a new mine.
Knowledge of Finnish diamonds became widespread in the late 1980s when the largest diamond found measured 4.3mm in diameter. In 2005 Kahru Mining extracted a 2000 tonne sample from the Lahtojoki region and processed half of them at a laboratory owned by the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK).
GTK says that other companies have also been involved in the diamond exploration business in Finland since the discoveries in the 1980s.
These include Ashton Mining Ltd, RTZ Mining & Exploration Ltd, Finsearch Oy ( De Beers), Glenmore Highlands Inc. (ASE), Conroy P.l.c., North Star Diamonds A.S. (Poplar Resources Inc., VSE), Baltic Minerals Finland Oy, America Mineral Fields Inc. (TSE) and Archangel Diamond Corp.
The relative success of the above companies’ exploration has not been disclosed.
However, Finland’s diamond potential was hinted at by Karelian Diamond Resources in December 2013 after its share price soared amid its belief in finding a major diamond-rich volcanic pipe in the country.
Zimbabwe targets £8.8bn mining industry by 2023
Zimbabwe’s government plans to fast-track exploration, evaluation and digitalisation of selected reserved mining areas under the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development as part of wider measures to achieve a £8.8 billion mining industry by 2023, according to a senior government minister.
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said other plans include stopping the issuance of special grants in the reserved areas under the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development until the exploration and evaluation is complete and a robust value addition program for diamonds is implemented.
Mutsvangwa was speaking at a post-cabinet media briefing on December 15.
She adds that the issuance and renewal of special grants for energy should also be based on the financial and technical capacity to value add all types of coal, as well as for ideal exploration of Coal Bed Methane.
For renewal of special grants, consideration should take into account the period the Special Grant has been held as well as plans with milestones for value addition of the special grant, Mutsvangwa says. She adds that the Zimbabwean government expects gold to drive the mining sector in order to achieve the ambitious target, with the precious metal expected to contribute approximately £2.96 billion to the overall target.
Mining is one of Zimbabwe’s major contributors to its economy, alongside agriculture, which is the mainstay. The mining sector accounted for more than 60 percent of the country’s foreign currency receipts in 2019, and contributed around 16 percent to national Gross Domestic Product, the Chamber of Mines says.
The country’s mining industry is focused on a diverse range of small to medium mining operations. The most important minerals produced in Zimbabwe include gold, asbestos, chromite, coal and base metals.
Zimbabwe expects its economy to expand by 7.4 percent in 2021 from a projected contraction of 4.5 percent this year, due to the effects of drought and the COVID-19 global pandemic.
When presenting the 2021 National Budget in November this year, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, said that the mining sector is projected to rebound by 11 percent next year after surviving a COVID-19 induced shock that saw the sector contract by 4.7 percent in 2020. In September, mining bans in national parks were introduced, according to news agencies.
He added that the National Budget would allocate £1 billion towards the operations of the ministry for planning, promotion and exploration, data capturing, and automation, among other key mining processes.
Other factors necessary for the achievement of the £8.8 billion target include a stable macroeconomic environment, policy consistency, and availability of long-term capital to fund mining projects along the entire mineral value chain, the minister said.
Stopping "illicit financial flows" from gold smuggling is another key issue to address, according to media reports.