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Zimbabwe to scale up diamond cutting, polishing industry

by Staff reporter
09 Mar 2023 at 05:21hrs | Views
MINES and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando has said the country is targeting seven million carats this year as the country plans to scale up the diamond cutting and polishing industry.

He said a 10 percent quota is set aside for local beneficiation as per the Diamond Policy.

In a recent interview with World Federation Of Diamond Bourses, Chitando said the development of the sector is crucial as focus is on value creation and downstream industry from the diamond sector.

"Zimbabwe is targeting 7 million carats in 2023 and the sector is set to continue growing based on the exploration activities currently underway. The Government has set a USD1 billion target for the diamond sector by the end of 2023," he said.

The diamond sector contributions decreased by 35 percent to US$147 million last year compared to US$227,5 million in 2021 largely due to geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine amid limited domestic marketing of the gem.

The minister said the diamond sector in the country is on an upward trajectory adding that the country will continue implementing the requirements of the Kimberley Process as well as pushing beyond the minimum KP requirements.

"The diamond mining sector is on an upward trajectory which has seen production increasing. Plans are to increase production as well as source alternative markets for Zimbabwean diamonds. This is in line with the US$1 billion milestone set for the diamond sector.

"We are looking at increasing the diamond cutting and polishing industry with a 10 percent quota set aside for local beneficiation, according to the Diamond Policy. The development of this sector is crucial as we focus on value creation and downstream industry from the diamond sector.

"Diamonds are highly regulated as they should be and Zimbabwe will continue implementing the requirements of the Kimberley Process as well as pushing beyond the minimum KP requirements," he is quoted saying.

The minister said at present, there are three diamond mining companies actively operating, Anjin Investments, RioZim Murowa and Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) saying not all the rough diamonds mined are exported.

Alrosa Zimbabwe is conducting exploration activities that we are hopeful will yield positive results, he said.

"The diamond sector was reorganised through the consolidation of seven different companies that were operating in the Chiadzwa diamond fields to form the ZCDC. ZCDC is currently the largest diamond mining company in Zimbabwe by volume.

"Not all the rough diamonds mined are exported, there is a deliberate policy to encourage local cutting and polishing of diamonds to make jewellery and create employment for the Zimbabwean people.

"No new diamond deposits have been found in Zimbabwe, however, exploration is currently underway.

All the diamond mining companies in Zimbabwe are currently conducting exploration which is at various stages of the exploration cycle.

He said the consolidation of the mining companies has enabled the government to also monitor the operations in the region much more effectively and enabled the minimum negative impact to communities from the mining activities.

Zimbabwe is the vice chair of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) — a global body of diamond-producing nations, which has 52 participants, representing 82 countries with the European Union and its member states counting as a single participant.

Apart from being vice chair of KP, a global body that sets out the requirements for controlling rough diamond production and trade, Zimbabwe is also vice chair of the Africa Diamond Producers' Association (ADPA).

In both bodies, Zimbabwe will assume full chairmanship this year in a remarkable feat for a country that over a decade ago was facing challenges in the export of its diamonds.

Source - The Chronicle