Zim mulls diamonds polishing law

HARARE - Zimbabwe plans to promulgate a law that compels diamond miners to sell 10 percent of their gems to local cutting and polishing firms.

The move is part of government’s aggressive beneficiation programme, under which it seeks to realise more value from its minerals, particularly diamonds and platinum.

Currently, the country is exporting its gems and platinum in raw form.

Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa said the law, expected to be gazetted this week, would enable revival of local diamond cutters and polishers, who were shutting down due to lack of access to the gems among other challenges.

“The previous legislation left a gap and did not adequately provide for our diamond and cutting firms,” he said, adding that “with the new law, 10 percent of all the diamonds produced in the country will be made available to our local companies for beneficiation.”

Last year, licensed gem-polishing and cutting firms dwindled from 29 to one due to exorbitant licence fees, according to the Diamonds Beneficiation Association of Zimbabwe (DBAZ).

The fees, which have since been revised downwards to $20 000 per decade, had gone up five-fold to $100 000 from $20 000 per annum in 2007.

In 2013, government imposed, but had not enacted into law, that at least 10 percent of Zimbabwe’s rough diamond output — approximately 8,5 million carats per year — should be processed locally, with the country only managing to cut and polish a mere 0,1 percent.

Chidhakwa noted that the sale of Zimbabwean diamonds on the international market will not prejudice the supply of the 10 percent quota.

Recently, Zimbabwe sold 380 626, 24 carats at the Dubai Diamond Exchange Centre United Arab Emirates, earning $29, 3 million.

“We have taken care of that already. I am hoping that once the new law is promulgated you will see dramatic movement towards the facilitation of local companies adding value to our diamonds,” he said.

President Robert Mugabe, in his speech at the just ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, reiterated that the mining sector need to be reorganised in a manner that the country will get value addition from its minerals.

Comments (2)

Ever wondered why in Zim you will need a law to compel companies to sell to diamond cutters and polishers locally only when the diamonds have run out??? The circus rages on.

matombo chiremba - 1 May 2014

mr editor i thought to be the only one realisng that the the law is enacted yet a lot of diamonds have been looted, we only benefit from scratches left

fabulous - 5 May 2014

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