Friday, November 09, 2012

(NEWZIMBABWE, NZWEEK) Conference to unlock diamond potential

Conference to unlock diamond potential
07/11/2012 00:00:00
by Thomas Whittle I NZWeek

ZIMBABWE’S nascent diamond sector will come under the spotlight next week at the inaugural international diamond conference to be held next week in the resort town of Victoria Falls.

Organised by the government of Zimbabwe, the conference that seeks to highlight Zimbabwe’s achievements and potential in the diamond sector is set to be attended by over 300 delegates from 20 countries around the globe.

Top leaders from international diamond centers are expected to attend the two-day event running from November 12 to 13.

Minister of Mines and Mining Development Obert Mpofu said he had been overwhelmed by the international support to the conference as evidenced by the many international leaders participating.

“I am proud to see the support of so many international leaders for this initiative. We hope the Zimbabwe Diamond Conference 2012 will give our country the opportunity to show our strength to the international community. The moment has come to explore and unlock Zimbabwe’s diamond potential together,” he was quoted as saying recently.

There are four companies currently mining diamonds in Chiadzwa, a vast diamond field in the eastern part of Zimbabwe that was discovered in 2006.

Three of them, Mbada Diamonds, Anjin and Diamond Mining Corporation, are in joint-venture partnerships with government mining arm, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), while Marange Resources is wholly owned by the government.

Mining operations in Chiadzwa were initially haphazard but the government moved onto the site in 2007 to control the situation, resulting in formal mining beginning in 2010.

While the KP initially restricted trading of the Chiadzwa diamonds due to human rights violation concerns, it later gave Zimbabwe the greenlight to sell its diamonds after meeting the KP requirements.

However, the ZMDC complaints that general Western sanctions and United States sanctions on two of the mines-Mbada and Marange Resources – has undermined the country’s diamonds sales.

ZMDC chairman Godwills Masimirembwa said this week the country will miss its diamond revenue target for 2012 by a very big margin due to the sanctions. The country had projected to earn 600 million U.S. dollars from diamond sales but only 150 million U.S. dollars will be remitted to treasury.

“The reason why the figures are low is because we have a limited customer base due to the illegal sanctions,” he was quoted as saying in Wednesday’s Herald newspaper.

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