Govt sets up diamond cleaning facility

via Govt sets up diamond cleaning facility | The Herald August 11, 2015 by Golden Sibanda

PRICES of local diamonds could improve by 10 to 20 percent per carat due to a new system requiring their cleaning before auctioning.

Government now requires mandatory cleaning of local diamonds before they are auctioned after it set up a cleaning facility.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa last week said cleaning will improve the diamonds’ prices by 10 to 20 percent.

Apart from improving their value, cleaning will save the country a lot of money, as some miners paid for cleaning services outside the country.

“Now that we have this facility, it is now mandatory for all diamonds produced in Zimbabwe to be cleaned before auctioning.

“Ever since the discovery of diamonds in Zimbabwe, we sold and exported them in their rough form.

“Some producers had their own cleaning facilities or had them cleaned outside the country at great cost and loss,” he said.

Further, Minister Chidhakwa said marketing local diamonds outside the country resulted in the gems being placed in lower grades.

It is against this background that Government decided to establish a State-owned cleaning facility, known as the Zimbabwe Boiling Facility.

This builds on the successful set-up of a local international auction facility at the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe.

The initiatives fall in line with Government’s position on value addition and beneficiation, as enunciated in the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation, 2014 to 2018.

Prior to introducing the locally-based international diamond auction, Government marketed local gems on major auctions including Dubai, Antwerp and Shanghai to get international exposure.

Managing director Mr Johan Erikso of First Element Diamond Services, who set up Zimbabwe’s first international auction system in Harare, said they were not struggling to get buyers to the auctions.

“We do not battle to get people, the people who come here compare well with anywhere in the world,” Mr Erikson told the minister.

He said they had so far cleaned only 1 000 carats and were still to evaluate and determine the impact this will have overall, but was confident that the cleaning will improve their value.

It is estimated that Zimbabwe has potential to supply about 25 percent of the value of diamonds traded in global markets annually.

But Minister Chidhakwa said production, like anywhere else in the world, had not been good in recent months due to low global prices.

Most of Zimbabwe’s diamonds are mined in Chiadzwa area, Manicaland Province, by Gye Nyame Resources, Marange Resources, Diamond Mining Company Anjin, Jinan and Mbada Diamonds.

Government owns 50 percent stake in all of the companies that extract the precious stones in Chiadzwa, in the eastern part of Zimbabwe.

Other producers include DTZ OZGEO, which mines in the Chimanimani area and global mining giant Rio Tinto’s former subsidiary, Murowa Diamonds, which mines in the Midlands.