Women want fair share of Zim’s diamonds

via Women want fair share of Zim’s diamonds | The Herald January 8, 2015 by Tendai Mugabe

The Zanu-PF Women’s League has scaled up implementation of Government’s economic recovery blueprint, Zim-Asset with a resolution to set up 10 diamond cutting and polishing companies in each of the country’s 10 provinces.

The move will see more women downstream benefiting from the country’s gems.

This was revealed by the League’s secretary for security Cde Shuvai Mahofa here yesterday after touring one of the world’s biggest diamond equipment producers, Sahajanand Laser Technology plant.

The tour was organised by the Diamond Technology Centre, which signed a multi-million dollar joint venture agreement for the supply of high tech diamond cutting and polishing equipment by Sahajanand Laser Technology.

Cde Mahofa, who is also the Senator for Masvingo province, said the joint venture between the Zimbabwe Diamond Centre and Sahajanand Laser Technology would accelerate beneficiation of diamonds locally.

“By what we have seen from this company, we can get a lot of money through this machinery where diamonds are polished automatically using modern technology,” she said.

“The way I see it, we have just been leaving money lying in the soil when we had no capacity to come up with this technology and give it to our people. This is what we call Zim-Asset — the finishing part of it, value addition and selling of our minerals after adding value to them.

“I wish if our Minister of Mines and Mining Development (Cde Walter Chidakwa) could send a delegation to come and see as Government so that we keep all our money in Zimbabwe.”

Sahajanand Laser Technology manufactures sophisticated equipment that can cut and polish diamonds within a few minutes, a major shift from the manual tradition where cutting and polishing of one stone cannot be completed in one day.

Cde Mahofa said the 10 women companies would be compelled to employ staff trained in cutting and polishing.

She said some women in Bulawayo were already organising themselves to have a stake in the diamond sector.

Cde Mahofa said she was impressed that the Zimbabwe Diamond Centre was already training people in cutting and polishing the gems.

“We want some of the women who are capable to go and be trained as well,” she said.

“I would want Sahajanand Laser Technology to come and teach our children these skills. They are already trained in cutting and polishing diamonds.”

Zimbabwe Diamond Technology Centre chairman Mr Lovemore Kurotwi said Zimbabwe was now at the same level with the world in terms of cutting and polishing diamonds.

“We are now at par with what is happening in the world where diamonds are being beneficiated using scientific methods. We are now assured of maximum value,” he said.

“We are not only going to benefit by adding value to our minerals, but we are going to have technology transfer and we are also going to benefit through skills transfer,” he said.

Sahajanand Laser Technology managing director Dr Arvind Patel said the equipment would be shipped to Harare soon.

“Once we come there and see the plans and locations, it will take about four months to equip the centre,” he said.