Martin Kadzere Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE has entered into an agreement with a European company, Belgium’s HRD Antwerp, to certify its polished diamonds as part of efforts to fetch higher prices for its stones.
“Diamonds that have been cut and polished will now be certified so that a very practical price is put on them,” Minerals and Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe general manager Mr Richard Chingodza said last week.
“We don’t want to continue losing on the price.”
Currently, local producers get offer prices from buyers and might be losing a lot of money from underpricing. Mr Chingodza said the country had also been losing between 15 and 20 percent on the value of gems since the “Marange diamonds were heavily coated”.
The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development has also estimated that the country might have been losing 40 percent of potential revenue from selling unprocessed diamonds.
As such, Zimbabwe has moved to clean and value add its diamonds to boost earnings from the gems by licensing several diamond cleaning, polishing and cutting companies.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development commissioned a second deep- boiling facility to clean rough diamonds.
The MMCZ boss said the creation of the single diamond producing entity – the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Corporation – will help boost diamond output for a sector that is less affected by the vagaries of prevailing weak global commodity prices.
“The price fluctuation of diamonds is not as bad as that of platinum and other minerals so it’s an area that once we increase production we can easily get a lot of value from the sector.”
Government is considering raising $30 million to fund working capital for the consolidated diamond mining firm while finalising consolidation of the industry by merging companies operating in Marange as part of efforts to ensure accountability of earnings from the gems.