Harare: With just days to go before the start of the Second Zimbabwe Diamond Conference, organizers of the event say 1,000 people are due to take part in the opening session, making it the largest diamond industry conference ever held in the country and one of the biggest in Africa. The focus of the November 6-7 conference, organized by Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, in the capital, Harare, is: ‘Completing Zimbabwe’s Diamond Potential for the Future’.
With one of the largest diamond reserves in the world which could see the country produce 25 percent of global alluvial diamond supply, Zimbabwe is keen to discuss how its diamonds can be mined to the benefit of its people and outside investors. “Zimbabwe and Africa’s time has come, and the degree to which it is successful will depend on how well and efficiently it manages its natural resources, including diamonds,” commented Mr Eli Izhakoff, Honorary President of the World Diamond Council (WDC), the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and of CIBJO, The World Jewellery Confederation. “I am delighted to be part of that process and am greatly confident of what can be achieved.”
Prof. Francis Gudyanga, Permanent Secretary at Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, said that in excess of 1,000 diamond industry members and experts were expected to participate in the opening session of the conference. “This is, undoubtedly, going to be one of the most important international gatherings ever held in Zimbabwe,” he said. “We have been delighted that all the ministers, industry organization heads from around the world and representatives of the diamond pipeline have accepted our invitation to attend. We see this as a confirmation of the importance of Zimbabwe as the next great diamond resource.
“Our aim for the conference is to discuss the different aspects of the diamond sector: how we can mine in a more sophisticated and productive way; how to bring the benefits of diamond mining to a greater number of our citizens; and how to not just mine but cut and polish our diamonds and work according to international standards of transparency. We believe this conference will produce a huge store of information for visitors about our country’s diamonds and can aid in mapping out a way forward for the benefit of our country,” he added.
The Second Zimbabwe Diamond Conference will present the progress made by the country’s diamond industry following its admission as a member of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in 2011. The inaugural Zimbabwe Diamond Conference took place at Victoria Falls in November, 2012. Among the highlights of the conference will be three panel debates. They will deal with Zimbabwe’s diamond mining industry and exports, beneficiation of the country’s diamonds, and responsible mineral supply chains and the Kimberley Process.
The importance to the global diamond industry of the developing Zimbabwe diamond trade is shown by the planned attendance of leading African mines ministers and diamond industry leaders who will take part. African ministers who have confirmed they will take part in the conference include Mr Ngoako Ramatlhodi, Minister of Mineral Resources of the Republic of South Africa: Mr Isak Katali, Minister of Mines and Energy of the Republic of Namibia; Mr Martin Kabwelulu Labilo, Minister of Mining of the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Mr Bernardo Campos, from Angola, Vice Chair of the Kimberley Process. The conference will be hosted by Zimbabwe’s Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Mr Walter K. Chidakwa, who will address the audience on behalf of his government.
Leading diamond industry leaders from around the world will deliver keynote speeches at the conference. In addition to Mr Izhakoff, they include Mr Ernie Blom, President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB); and Mr Gaetano Cavalieri, President of CIBJO. Representatives of foremost diamond trading companies, manufacturers, financiers and jewelers will also take part in the conference. Among the other global figures taking part are H.E. Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority; Mr Reuven Kaufman, President, Diamond Dealers’ Club of New York; and Mr Lin Qiang, President, Shanghai Diamond Exchange.