Zimbabwe says no ban on rough diamond exports

via Zimbabwe says no ban on rough diamond exports | GlobalPost 4 Agust 2014

Zimbabwe Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa said Monday the government has not banned exports of rough diamonds as beneficiation capacity in the country is still very low.

The minister told a parliamentary committee on mines and energy that value addition to the country’s gems will be undertaken gradually to allow for building of sufficient beneficiation capacity.

“We don’t have the capacity to cut and polish all our diamonds at the moment. It is going to be a process where at the moment we are saying 10 percent to be cut locally and then increase after sometime to 15 percent, percent and so on until we can cut a bigger percentage,”the minister said.

Zimbabwe began large scale commercial exploitation of its Marange gems in the eastern part of the country in 2009.

To date, not less than 50 million carats have been mined in Marange,earning the country hundreds of millions of dollars.

Three diamond auctions that have been conducted at Antwerp Diamond Center and Dubai Diamond Exchange since November 2013 have earned the country more than 100 million dollars.

The minister also spoke about platinum, saying the government was not sure about the exact quantity of minerals that go out of the county as part of platinum group metals and was therefore pushing for the establishment of a refinery to enable local processing of the minerals.

He said the government was working with a hindsight of faith that the miners were giving them the correct information about minerals contained in the platinum concentrate that is sent to neighboring South Africa for processing.

When further processed in South Africa, the platinum concentrate produces other minerals such as gold, nickel and silver which are then sold from there.

The government in 2012 gave the three platinum miners in the country a two-year ultimatum to set up a refinery.

Meanwhile, the minister said the country’s gold sector was slowly recovering after a sharp decline in the last decade.

The country produced 14,065 kg of gold valued at 626.11 million U.S.dollars in 2013, slightly lower than 14,472 kg the previous year.

Zimbabwe is also looking forward to being re-admitted into the London Bullion Marketers Association after its suspension when output fell to below 4 tons at the height of economic challenges in 2008.