Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa has taken advantage of the ongoing bi-annual Dubai Diamond Conference to invite international diamond buyers to tender for Zimbabwean diamonds which will “soon” go under the hammer. The conference brings together international leaders of the diamond industry among them African Ministers of Mines, traders, financiers and world-renowned jewellers to Dubai which plays a central role for the trade due to its location between producing countries and cutting centres.
Zimbabwe has, since March, stockpiled over 1,4 million carats of the precious stones a period that has allowed state mining entity, the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) to take stock of its marketing processes and benchmark against the more successful story of Botswana. The sale, to be conducted after Botswana Government Diamond Valuators’ (GDVs) comprehensive valuation of the stones set to begin in a week’s time, is set to earn the country in excess of $200 million. In his address at the Dubai Diamond Conference yesterday morning, Minister Chidhakwa invited buyers to the tender as well as update them on the state of the local diamond sector.
“The country is preparing to conduct an international tender soon and let me take this opportunity to invite all the buyers here present to the tender. Even as we continue to sell internationally, we also continue to nurture a growing cutting, polishing and jewelry making sector in our country. We seek partners who exhibit a whole value chain capability to become our strategic partners as we revolutionise our Diamond sector. We again thank DMCC (Dubai Multi Commodities Centre – which organises the conference) for allowing such networking opportunities,” said Minister Chidhakwa.
Meanwhile, Minister Chidhakwa also bemoaned the continued failure by Africa to capitalise on potential revenue from the diamond sector despite producing approximately 65 percent of the world’s total diamond output. As expounded by President Mugabe during the official opening the Fifth Session of the Eighth Parliament on September 12, the minister said Africa must stop the trend of exporting diamonds in their raw state but move to beneficiation.
“Diamonds are one of the world’s significant natural resource. An estimated $13 billion worth of rough diamonds are produced each year, of which approximately $8,5 billion are from Africa (approximately 65 percent). According to a report by the World Diamond Council on diamond facts, global diamond jewelry sales continue to grow, increasing three-fold in the past 25 years, and are currently worth an estimated $72 billion every year. Despite the huge mineral endowment, Africa has not derived optimal benefit. This may be attributed to the fact that the continent’s mining sector has been limited to extraction and exportation of minerals in their raw or semi-processed form, among other challenges,” said Minister Chidhakwa.