Zimbabwe Imposes Embargo on Rough Export

Walter ChidHarare: The Zimbabwean government has reportedly banned the export of rough diamonds to ensure the country realises maximum value for its gems.

NewsDay quoted Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidhakwa as saying that the issue was extensively discussed and Cabinet agreed and directed that “we implement the new institutional programme”.

He said Harare had recognized that it was “not proper or rational” to incessantly ship out rough diamonds.

“What do we do with our diamonds? We cannot continue to export rough diamonds as it is not proper, not rational and does not augur well for our economic development,” he said.

“We must embark on serious value addition programmes that include the cutting and polishing of diamonds and manufacturing of jewellery.”

Despite this development, Zimbabwe was currently auctioning about 1 million carats of diamonds at the Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE). This was the fourth public sale of Zimbabwe diamonds since December 2013.

Meanwhile, Chidhakwa said they had been negotiating, for the past two months, with prospective investors looking at having access to Zimbabwe diamonds for the purposes of driving their own manufacturing sectors.

“India has built an entire city underpinned by the diamonds from Zimbabwe but us the source of the diamonds do not have anything to show in terms of value addition,” he said.

“We are looking at the possibility of trading diamonds for value addition. They want our diamonds and they have experience of cutting and polishing and manufacturing jewellery and marketing outlets across the world.

“We want to sell our diamonds to those countries but they must help us break into the international market not to sell rough diamonds but to sell cut and polished products. We must have a footprint in the world market.”

Zimbabwe’s diamond production fell 14 percent to $538.5 million in 2013, according to the Kimberley Process. Its volume of production also eased 14 percent to 10.411 million carats while the average price dropped 3 percent to $51.72 per carat.