Zimbabwe Eyes Domestic Diamond Exchange

Harare: Government will auction local diamonds once or twice in Antwerp, Belgium, before testing waters on its own planned domestic exchange in November this year. Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said in an interview that Government was working on modalities of the domestic diamond exchange.

“We are preparing for the (domestic) auction in November. We will do one or two auctions in Antwerp between now and November. In November we will have the diamond conference and together with the diamond conference, we will have the auction,” he said.

Minister Chidhakwa said Government wanted to give buyers interested in coming to purchase local gems an opportunity to be part of the bi-annual conference.

Zimbabwe has been auctioning its diamonds on foreign exchanges, at the same time taking the opportunity to pick notes on how the trading is conducted.

Zimbabwe has participated in four auctions in Belgium and Dubai where millions of dollars have been raked in and the hosting of the inaugural auction in Harare is expected before the end of this year.

Minister Chidhakwa, however, said it was impossible to estimate the quantity of local gems that would be auctioned in all the planned forthcoming diamond auctions.

Zimbabwe held its third sale in July this year after the January auction that grossed US$70 million, while in March US$29,2 million was realized from 400 000 carats.

Antwerp held the first auction last December, where a disappointing average price per carat of US$40 was recorded; before another auction at the same market saw the price rising to US$76 in March.

Diamond auction centres across the world have scrambling for the opportunity to auction diamonds from Zimbabwe and Government has experimented with Antwerp and Dubai for a platform with highest returns.

The southern African country is considered to have capacity to supply about 25 percent of gems traded on international markets and is still developing its capacity.

Minister Chidhakwa said the process of consolidating diamond producers in Chiadzwa, to enhance production and improve transparency, was still ongoing.

Mbada Diamonds, Anjin, Jinan, Diamond Mining Corporation, DZT-OZGEO, Marange Resources and Kusena submitted parcels totalling 960 000 carats in July.

The auction, the first of Zimbabwe’s diamonds in Europe in December 2013, followed a decision by the European Union earlier last year to remove State run Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation from targeted sanctions, which Government maintained was illegal.