Zim diamond industry

HARARE - South Africa (SA) says it is willing to assist Zimbabwe in developing and growing its diamond industry.

This comes as Zimbabwe — once believed to have capacity to supply more than 25 percent of the world’s alluvial diamonds — plans to resume local gem auctions after facing challenges on international markets, particularly in Antwerp, Belgium.

Ngoako Ramatlhodi, SA’s Mineral Resources minister, said there is need to use the mining sector as a driver of economic growth and for the benefit of society, and he “would share SA’s experience in the development of a diamond industry”.

“Both South Africa and Zimbabwe are richly endowed with not only diamonds, but also other mineral and metal resources.

“It is my considered view that the immense contribution of mining to our respective economies and societies needs to be acknowledged. Mining brings employment, government revenues and opportunities for growth and diversification,” he said.

SA — one of the largest diamond-producing countries in the world — has anchored its economic growth hopes on gold and diamond mining.

“Our government’s position is that it is necessary to implement a sustainable development policy approach to the development and implementation of mining and mineral policies which takes into account economic, social and environmental considerations,” said Ramatlhodi, who will be a keynote speaker at Zimbabwe’s forthcoming second Diamond Indaba in Harare next month.

“Thus we need to enhance the mutual economic and social progress that is derived from the responsible management of mineral resources,” he said.

This comes as Zimbabwe’s diamond mining companies early this year said operations were becoming unviable as the alluvial diamond resources were running out.

The seven companies wanted to be allocated new claims, arguing that underground mining would be too expensive.

All the companies that were granted diamond mining licenses — in partnership with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation — have been mainly concentrating on alluvial mining, which is easier and less-costly compared to underground mining.SA keen to help grow

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