Mbada Diamonds leads in gem exports

HARARE - Mbada Diamonds has become the biggest contributor to Zimbabwe’s diamond exports, contributing $44,7 million out of $113,7 million diamonds shipped in the first quarter.

Mbada is a 50-50 joint venture between private investors and the State-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).

Anjin Investments shipped diamonds amounting to $30,4 million followed by  Diamond Mining Corporation which exported produce worth $18,4 million while DTZ OzGeo exported $833 715 worth of diamonds.

River Ranch Mine’s export shipments amounted to $118 517 in the period under review.

Mbada Diamonds, which declares dividends monthly in order to alleviate the fiscal stranglehold and pressure currently being experienced by Zimbabwe, has since its incorporation in 2009 poured millions of dollars into charity and sporting activities.

Last year Robert Mhlanga, Mbada Diamonds chairperson said his company remitted nearly $300 million to  Treasury since launching its operations in 2009.

“In total we have paid a total of $293,5 million to government and this constitutes nearly 50 percent of the gross we generate with 26 percent going to working capital while 24 percent went to the other shareholder (Reclamation),” he said.

 “We have challenges because you would appreciate that all buyers from the US and Europe were coming in and we were selling transparently we would have a bigger number of people coming in and higher competition and push the price up.”

Finance minister Tendai Biti, in his March state of the economy address, said he was looking to diamonds to bankroll the forthcoming elections, but bemoaned underperformance of the sector.

The minister indicated government was also crafting a piece of legislation meant to increase royalties, particularly on diamonds and platinum temporarily by an unspecified margin, to mobilise resources for the upcoming decisive election. Biti said his department was working on a statutory instrument that would ensure government collects 50 percent of diamond revenues.

The Marange diamond fields in the eastern region of the country, which have been mined for the last seven years, are one of the world’s biggest diamond deposits.

The country reportedly could produce between 110 million to 160 million carats annually. - Staff Writer

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