via ‘Zim losing $17bn in diamond revenue’ – DailyNews Live 15 September 2014 by Ndakaziva Majaka
HARARE – Zimbabwe is losing about $17 billion in revenue annually by selling raw diamonds to external markets, chairman of the Zimbabwe Diamond Technology Centre (ZDTC), Lovemore Kurotwi, has said.
Kurotwi told a delegation of international diamond experts touring the ZDTC yesterday that countries who sell processed diamonds generate over $70 billion in revenue.
“My understanding is that those selling finished product share $71 billion annually, those selling cut and polished diamonds share $41 billion annually, while those selling rough diamonds share $14 billion.
“If you do the mathematics considering Zimbabwe produces around 25-30 percent of the world market, you will see a lot of money is lost because we cannot process the diamonds ourselves,” he said.
Zimbabwe currently sells its diamonds in their rough form as it has no capacity to process them.
Once completed, the ZDTC which has been under construction in Mt Hampden outside Harare for more than two years, is expected to create about 40 000 new jobs.
Kurotwi dismissed reports that diamond reserves in the country were fast running out saying studies had not been carried out to authenticate the claims.
“The country still has a long way to go, these reports are not supported by appropriate studies to show the country is indeed running out of diamonds,” said Kurotwi.
Kurotwi’s sentiments come in the wake of media reports released earlier this year, which revealed diamond mining firms operating in Zimbabwe’s Marange area were expected to cut around 400 jobs, as it had become unsustainable for them to dig any deeper for the gems.
Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) chief executive Ari Epstein, recently told Parliamentarians at a ZimAsset Awareness Seminar that Zimbabwean diamonds have the capacity to fetch over $400 million annually, resulting in an increase of $60 million in royalties per year.