Former Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbawe Mineral evaluator Gemologist Engineer Clever Sithole officially opened the Silk Road Heart Gemmological Laboratory and Lapidary Center in Afghanistan recently.
The Silk Road Heart Gemmological Laboratory and Lapidary Center is the flagship center for value addition and beneficiation of gemstones produced in Afghanistan.
The center is a specialised center that unlocks true value from gemstones, curbs under-declaration and smuggling of gems.
It is based in Kabul and Engineer Clever Sithole is the head Gemologist for the facility. The facility is the first in Central/ South Asia.
It will be involved in the training of Afghan nationals to conduct cutting and polishing of gemstones as well as certification of gemstones according to internationl standards.
According to Eng Sthole, the facility will be obtaining international accreditation and will implement the latest technologies such as blockchain tracing of gemstones from mine to market.
Blockchain traceability will ensure responsible and sustainable sourcing of gemstones from mining up to consumers.
The laboratory has the latest scientific technologies for gemstone analysis, grading and certification.
Speaking to Mining Zimbabwe, Eng Sithole said there were myriad benefits for Zimbabwe to set up a similar laboratory.
He said Zimbabwe will obtain international accreditation which will enable the country to certify coloured stones and diamonds from across the region.
” Setting up a Gemmological Laboratory and Lapidary Center brings a lot of advantages for the country. The center is a specialised center that unlocks true value from gemstone, curbs under-declaration and smuggling of gems.
“Its advantages are opening up opportunities in terms of value addition and beneficiation of gemstones for the country, create employment opportunities in lapidary and jewel craftsmanship, accurate grading, pricing and valuation of coloured stones an diamonds, the center can also obtain international accreditation which enables it to certify coloured stones and diamonds from other sources within the region such as Mozambique, South Africa, Angola, Losotho and Namibia,” he said.
Engineer Sithole has been co-opted into the Afghan government’s semi-precious committee in charge of reforming the exports policy under the Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Afghan.
Among its successes, committee has done tremendous work in terms of implementing ease of doing business reforms that will enable simple ways of exporting gemstones.
An Afghan gemstones conference and buyers meeting was held in Dubai in July 2021.
Engineer Sithole is a Mining Engineer and Advanced Scientific Gemologist trained in the USA, UK, Belgium, India, Dubai, Switzerland, Israel, South Africa and Spain.
He worked for the MMCZ for 13 years involved in gemstones and diamonds valuations among other duties. The center is a specialised center that unlocks true value from gemstone, curbs under-declaration and smuggling of gems.- (Mining Zimbabwe)