Zimbabwe Running Out of Diamonds

Harare: Zimbabwe is fast running out of diamonds, the latest figures reveal. Zimbabwe diamond exports in sharp decline as alluvial stones run out.

Industrial-grade diamonds dominate Zimbabwe’s gem exports, although sales sharply declined to $188 million in 2013 from nearly $658 million in the previous year due to weakening demand from the United Arab Emirates, China and Belgium as mining companies in Marange scaled down operations, according to trade data.

Figures obtained from the International Trade Centre, a joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, show that exports of the unprocessed gems had been on an upward trend since 2009 before dropping last year.

The country’s diamonds are produced by five mines in the Marange diamond fields to the east of the country, as well as Rio Tinto’s Murowa mine in south central Zimbabwe.

The figures indicate that rough industrial diamonds export to the UAE and China more than halved to $127 million and $30 million, respectively, while the sale of the gems to Belgium also fell to $30 million from $83 million. Malaysia and Mozambique were the country’s new diamond export markets, accounting for a modest $131,000.