SA Minister to Address Second ZDC

Ngoako Ramatlhodi

Harare: South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Mr Ngoako Ramatlhodi, will speak at the Second Zimbabwe Diamond Conference (ZDC) to take place next month about the huge contribution of mining to the economies and societies of South Africa and Zimbabwe and the need to responsibly manage resources. Mr Ramatlhodi will be a keynote speaker at the event, along with mining ministers from other African diamond-producing states and global diamond industry leaders.

The November 6-7 conference, organized by Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, in the capital, Harare, will focus on the theme: ‘Completing Zimbabwe’s Diamond Potential for the Future’. In his letter of acceptance following his invitation to speak at the conference, Mr Ramatlhodi said: “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.

“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. Thus we need to enhance the mutual economic and social progress that is derived from the responsible management of mineral resources.” He added that he would share with conference attendees South Africa’s experience in the development of the global diamond industry.

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. 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.

“Mr Ramatlhodi’s letter shows the depth of knowledge and experience that our speakers will be bringing to this very important conference,” said Prof. Francis Gudyanga, Permanent Secretary at Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. “Our aim is to explain to attendees, as well as to the wider global diamond business, the challenges that we face in mining our valuable minerals, as well as the opportunities that this presents.

“How we can introduce modern exploration techniques for the benefit of our people is a major issue that we want to discuss. Major mining companies will see that Zimbabwe’s diamond potential is huge, and working with us can be beneficial to them as well as to our government in bringing about national development,” Gudyanga added.

Among the highlights of the conference will be the three panel discussions that will be held. The debates will cover Zimbabwe’s diamond mining industry and exports, beneficiation of the country’s diamonds, and responsible mineral supply chains and the Kimberley Process.

In addition to Mr Ramatlhodi, African ministers who have confirmed they will take part in the conference include: 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.

In addition, top diamond industry leaders from around the world will deliver keynote speeches at the conference. They include Mr Eli Izhakoff, Honorary President of the WDC, the WFDB and CIBJO; Mr Ernie Blom, President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB); and Mr Gaetano Cavalieri, President of CIBJO. Representatives of leading 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.