Zim to auction $37m diamonds

HARARE - Zimbabwe plans to sell at least half a million diamond carats worth approximately $37 million in Antwerp this week.

Francis Gudyanga, the Mines ministry’s permanent secretary, yesterday said preparations were at an advanced stage for the country’s officials to depart for Belgium —the centre of global diamond trade.

He said Zimbabwe was set to realise more from its diamonds following the lifting of trade restrictions on the country’s gems.

“As a pilot project we are beginning with the sale of 500 000 carats to international buyers from December 4 to 11, 2013,” Gudyanga said, adding that “we used to sale our diamonds at cheaper prices due to sanctions that were imposed on our firms.

“Now that the sanctions have been removed, we can sell our gems to over 1 800 buyers in Antwerp.”

Industry experts contend that a single carat can fetch between $50 and $100 depending on the type and quality of diamonds — translating to an average of $37 500 000 for half a million carats.

In September, the European Union (EU) eased sanctions against Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), a state-controlled company involved in the mining of diamonds in the Marange fields.

ZMDC operates five joint-venture mines in the gem-rich Marange.

The country’s total diamond output from Marange increased from 8,7 million carats in 2011 to 12 million carats last year.

This year, production is expected to exceed 17 million carats.

Gudyanga noted that funds realised from the sale of the gems will be channelled to the Treasury to help ease liquidity crunch in the country.

“Over the past few years diamonds have contributed something to Treasury but we want them to contribute more and that is why we are calling for beneficiation of the gems so that the country can get more out of them,” he said.

Recently, Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa noted that the sale of diamonds on the auction market will enhance transparency, as all diamonds will be accounted for.

“We hope that the prices arising out of that first auction will encourage our companies to continue to go the auction route,” he said.

“I also think that when you compare with the tender systems that we used to have, I think that there is much greater transparency in the auctions system and we hope that system will give us the benefits that we are looking for including the issue of being transparent,” said Chidhakwa.

The minister said increased transparency in the diamond mining and marketing system will give Zimbabwe the best benefits available.

Comments (4)

Ngatidyeiwo tese kana tatengesa

chaporomoka chamukwenjere - 3 December 2013

using 200 mg per carat this gives 2.5 g of diamonds?? Over what period? Out of ignorance, isn't this less than a month's production for only one of the 5 or so companies in the Marange diamond fields. I stand to be educated here.

Watikiritai - 4 December 2013

Who is responsible for marketing of the diamonds? I thought the mining companies were responsible. Is it the Zimbabwe governement through Ministry of Mines that holds the auctions? What is the role of MMCZ in this and how are the miners involved?

GRUB - 4 December 2013

12 million carats would hasve earned the country about $900m, selling via back door, on the background of sanctions, $600m, which is what Biti had budgeted for. So where did the money go? In the end, the end of sanctions which should see the country earning $1,2b is nothing to celebrate because the money will disappear to where the previous earnings went.

Mpolastic - 5 December 2013

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