via Diamonds rake in US$10,5m at Antwerp | The Herald December 20, 2013 by Lovemore Chikova
The first sale of diamonds from Marange on the international scene this week attracted an overwhelming response, achieving total sales of almost $7,6 million (US$10,5m) after 279 723 carats were auctioned in a trial tender held at Antwerp, Belgium. Mines and Minerals Development secretary Professor Francis Gudyanga said yesterday that out of the total sales, at least US$1,5 million, which is the 15 percent royalty fee paid by the selling companies, would find its way to Treasury.
The carats sold were supplied by five companies – Marange Resources, Diamond Mining Company (DMC), Anjin Investments, Jinan and Kusena Diamonds.
Prof Gudyanga said the parcels offered did not reflect the potential of the five mining companies.
“The majority of the parcels offered did not reflect a complete run-in-mine (or production footprint) of each individual mining operation,” he said.
“In other words, the composition of the goods did not represent a cross section of the goods range from high to low quality, produced at any of the five mining operations.
“Overall, 89 percent of the goods offered consisted of low quality industrial goods. In general, goods were not optimally cleaned, sorted and parcels were not ideally composed.”
Prof Gudyanga said the success of the trial tender meant that a second tender with more carats would be held in Antwerp soon.
He said although there was a high degree of confidentially on results of diamond sales as a rule, he was disclosing the figures in line with the new thrust of Government on full transparency on mining revenues and selling processes of the country’s rough diamonds.
“Overall, response to the tender was overwhelmingly positive,” said Prof Gudyanga. “Prices were significantly higher than average sales in Zimbabwe, demonstrating the high potential of selling goods on Antwerp’s open market.
“Above all, the trial tender has provided valuable insight to all stakeholders and has resulted in tangible guidelines that will allow the Government of Zimbabwe to fully optimise a second larger tender in Antwerp of Marange goods in the near future.”
At least 115 clients attended the trial tender, a number Prof Gudyanga said was “extremely high in spite of the tender being held at such a short notice and so late in the year”.
“Compared to an average of 10 to 15 companies that are present at regular tenders in Zimbabwe, it is clear this trial tender was very well received in Antwerp,” said Prof Gudyanga.
“During the tender, all the producing companies had representatives observing the total tendering process in full transparency.”
Prof Gudyanga said the trial tender would enable the Government and stakeholders to make a thorough assessment of benefits of selling rough diamonds on the open market in Antwerp and the regular tenders organised in the country.
The trial tender was facilitated by First Element, an independent and specialised service providing company.
Trading of diamonds from Zimbabwe on the world market had been stalled by illegal sanctions regime imposed on the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and its subsidiaries by the European Union at the instigation of Britain.
The sanctions were lifted after Belgium joined Zimbabwe in opposing them, leaving the EU with no choice, but to rescind its unreasonable decision and in so-doing broke London’s influence on the 27-member bloc.
Officials from the ZMDC, MMCZ and Government recently visited Antwerp for nearly a week where they studied its operating system when auctioning the gems before approving the trial tender.