“Malawi zircon, I have been interested in gemstones business💎over 10years. For the past three years, I had a tour in one of the jungles to the Southern part of Chikwawa district, where that time I had interest on hunting for petrified wood. In the process of identifying logs of petrified wood, I came across one piece of zircon in one of the dry streams. Eventually, I tried to mobilize some of my workers who were helping me pick petrified wood. To minimize collecting petrified wood and concentrate, tracing the exact location/sites where these zircon might be found. It had been my habit every time I visited a jungle, I spared much time to fetch for exact deposit of zircon. (I was doing it alone sometimes in a company of other more workers). It took me several visits to identify a site! (Almost a year) due to:

(1) Heavy forest

(2) Long distance

(3) Hill areas and very steep hills to approach the location/site.

(4) No direct road to reach the mining sites.

I was motivated in concentrating these stones after observing the quality of the stones (clarity).

I realize that, if these stones find good market, will assist my business to expand, my family and communities surrounding the forest, especially those involved in getting these zircon would assist their families too, eventually my nation will notice economic growth for the communities surrounding and government will benefit through tax collection during exportation of these zircon. Currently it has not been operated seriously, for being new discovery. Needs much steps to be formally invested in mining these zircon. The time I tried to mine seriously to trace deposit of this mine, I involved over 15 workers.

Due to scarcity of the stones, it has been difficult to maintain the number. Some of the problem, as I have already stated are:

(1) Heavy forest

(2) Long distance

(3) Hill areas and very steep hills to approach the site

(4) No direct road to reach mining site with car only footing.

Other problems are:

(5) No hygienic water to be used by workers for drinking and cleaning the soil to identify zircon.

(6) Poor phone network.

It would be much better if these zircon stones would be found easily. I think due to it’s nature, it’s clarity, it’s difficult to get it in large quantities. They are very unique pieces! Workers can spend more time/days without getting enough pieces. Another factor is that zircons which have begun to be extracted has not yet shown host rock! Most of the pieces are coming mixed with ordinary rocks and heavy soil. And very hard to mine. Generally villagers surrounding mining sites depend much on cutting down of trees and burning charcoal. I think the discovery of zircon in this forest, would help the villagers to minimize depending on deforestation. Due to Covid-19 my business has been affected a lot; There are no buyers coming to buy my stones, due to lock down in several country of the world, (restriction to travel). This time around, Virtu Gem Project, will open up doors for my business.

Thank you.

Matthias Chimbuto ”