Boost for local diamond cutters

Source: Boost for local diamond cutters | Sunday Mail (Business)

GOVERNMENT and State diamond mining entity, the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), are working on a framework to capacitate local diamond buyers so that they can buy their 10 percent statutory quota of ZCDC’s output.

Local diamond cutters and polishers are cushioned from international diamond buying competition under Statutory Instrument 79 of 2014, which entitles them to at least 10 percent of ZCDC’s produce as a way of promoting local mineral beneficiation.

Despite being cushioned, locals’ uptake of the diamonds has been disappointing, especially considering that production has been steadily increasing.

ZCDC is targeting to ramp up production from the 0,9 million carats recorded in 2016; 1,8 million carats in 2017 to at least 12 million carats by the year 2025.

The jump in production is expected to positively contribute towards Government’s Vision 2030, in which Zimbabwe is supposed to attain upper middle income country status in the next twelve years.

Speaking to The Sunday Mail Business after the launch of the diamond electronic trading system last week, ZCDC chief executive officer Dr Moris Mpofu said the State miner is partnering Government, the Diamond Beneficiation Association of Zimbabwe and other stakeholders to enhance local capacity.

“In support of the local market, ZCDC, in line with Statutory Instrument 79 of 2014, preserves 10 percent of its production for sell to the local cutting and polishing industry,” said Dr Mpofu.

“The uptake from local industry has been very low due to financial capacity constraints. ZCDC, through the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is working with the Zimbabwe School of Mines and other stakeholders, such as the Diamond Beneficiation Association of Zimbabwe, to establish a Gemmology Centre in Mutare.

“The Zimbabwe School of Mines is currently conducting a feasibility study and ZCDC will work with cutting and polishing companies to capacitate them to facilitate value addition and beneficiation of its rough diamonds.

“To further enhance capacity in the sector and increase uptake ability, ZCDC has already started rolling out a toll manufacturing programme
aimed at creating the necessary capacity in the local industry. ZCDC welcomes the sector’s investment towards capacity building and value addition,” he said.

Speaking at the commissioning of the African Chrome Fields’ state-of-the-art aluminothermic plant at Chinyika Ranch in July, President Mnangagwa said the country’s mineral resources could play a better role in the country’s economic revival if beneficiation is promoted.

“The launch of this (African Chrome Fields) plant is in tandem with Government’s value addition and beneficiation thrust. It increases the economic value of chrome, thereby increasing Zimbabwe’s foreign currency earnings,” said the President.

ZCDC has already embraced value addition by subjecting its stones to at least one week in de-boiling and cleaning, a process that used to be done in just a single day.

This is meant to give the stones better clarity on the auction, which in turn attracts higher prices from buyers.