One of the two diamond cleaning companies that have been licensed by the Government, Ke Nako Diamond Processing, is set to be officially launched early next month, almost six months after it started operating.
The company’s managing director, Ms Barbara Mutambanengwe, said they believe that this is the correct time to launch as the company was now fully operational.
“We set up in August last year and had our first run end of September. The first three months we were doing partial operation after which we started building up to achieve full operation. Our work involves value addition of local diamonds to give them a higher value.
“Diamonds in this country have a coating around them due to their formation which makes it difficult to properly grade them or determine their true value.
“We remove that coating through a process called deep boiling, which enables valuers to see the real diamond inside and to properly value it. Since we started we have been able to have most of the industrial diamonds upgraded to near gem and gem levels which enables them to fetch much more money on the market,” she said.
Ms Mutambanengwe said they have capacity to clean 1,2 million carats per month but they were currently only using about one percent of that capacity as they were only cleaning diamonds for Marange Resources, which confirmed the good work that the company has been doing.
Marange Resources acting marketing manager and chief diamond sorter Mr Jethro Dauramanzi said they were very happy with the way the company has been cleaning their diamonds which meets international standards.
“Like any other starting business they had some challenges at the beginning but they managed to get it right. Their work is now top notch and even better than what we used to get in Dubai and Antwerp,” he said.
Mrs Mutambanengwe however expressed optimism that they will be able to increase their capacity through the consolidation of the diamond industry by Government.
“We are dedicated to value addition and beneficiation of our local minerals especially our diamonds as emaciated in the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation and the consolidation of the diamond industry and the establishment of a local diamond bourse speaks to this.
“As a wholly owned indigenous company we are here to stay and are ready to play our part and that is why we have created so much capacity for cleaning. We have invested in the latest technology and knowledge for cleaning diamonds and we will continue to keep track of any developments in this field so that we keep upgrading our expertise and equipment.
“We are also fully compliant with the requirements of various Government departments such as the Environmental Management Agency because we deal with dangerous chemical which needs to be handled carefully and we are observing the highest levels of safety and security because of the sensitive nature of the mineral we deal with,” she said.
The company, whose facilities are based at the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe premises in Msasa, currently employs 12 people most of whom are youths that are fresh from school.
“We are cognisant of the need to empower youths in this country so we have engaged youth from disadvantage backgrounds and are training them our hope is to gradually increase our numbers as our volumes increase.
“Our thrust is to create all – rounders so all our staff are trained in the core aspects of their business despite the fact that they will be doing different tasks.”
Ke Nako is also a member of the Diamond Beneficiation Association. The Association’s president Mr Mvududu said that the initiative taken by Ms Mutambanengwe was a welcome move in two ways.
“It shows that Government is committed to empowering women by ensuring their participation in an industry like this one and secondly it is in line with the tenants of beneficiation because this is the first step in revealing the true nature quality and characteristics of our diamonds,” he said.