Dosman Mangisi Mining Correspondent—
ZIMBABWE is poised to reap increased revenue from polished diamond sales following the official commissioning of a new processing plant for the mineral in Harare by Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa. Increased mineral earnings are critical for improved liquidity and robust economic turnaround in which the mining sector plays a key role.
The setting up of the new Diamond Deep Boiling Facility — a major breakthrough on the value addition and beneficiation front — ensures the country’s gems are ready for trade at the world market, said the minister.
Set up by a South African company, First Element Diamond Services, the facility is stationed at the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) offices in Msasa.
It was set up at a cost of $300,000 and processes 50,000 carats of diamonds making them ready for sell after a 30-hour primary cleaning process.
Minister Chidhakwa officially opened the processing plant recently describing it as a major success for Zim-Asset.
“On behalf of government I’m happy to commission such a historic development in the diamond sector of our country.
“It’s government’s passion to see such projects which add value to the country’s economy,” said Minister Chidhakwa.
“We’re now selling our diamonds with an enhanced quality, which is on the world demand.
“We’ve sold many but didn’t fetch much due to unclean levels. Now all diamonds are to be cleaned before auctioning.”
The minister would not disclose statistics on sales and revenue generated so far.
Local processing of diamonds is envisaged to consolidate exploitation of the mineral at a time when the government is facilitating the bunching together of all diamond mines to form Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company.
Minister Chidhakwa has declared that there is no going back in the merger of eight diamond mining companies — Murowa, Mbada, Anjin, Marange Resources, Jinan, Kusena, Diamond Mining Company and GyeNyame.
Johan Erikson, managing director for First Element Diamonds Services said the country has everything to smile about with the new diamond cleaning facility.
“With this diamond facility, this country has every reason to smile because it’s better than the one in Botswana and Angola.
“This is a primary cleaning facility, which means it cleans diamond from the source or the mine,” he explained.
“Deep boiling is cleaning to determine the value of the diamond. After the process the diamond is ready for end users who do cutting and polishing. With this facility many diamond players will be coming to this country.”
First Element Diamond Services is an internationally established and recognised company that offers a range of diamond services. It has operations in Dubai, Antwerp, South Africa, Angola and Botswana.
Erikson implored the government to establish a one stop centre at MMCZ to allow smooth transactions for diamond dealers in terms of processing of relevant documents.
“A one stop centre for diamond trading is very important for Zimbabwe if the country wants to excel on the commodity. The government must bring all stakeholders who matter on the trading of diamond at one place for efficiency,” he said.
On average Zimbabwe receives between 96 and 200 diamond buyers per week.
Experts say deep boiling of diamonds is a process of cleaning the mineral under high pressure and temperature, a process which involves three types of chemicals.
Diamonds are taken through three stages of cleaning.
The facility has done one cleaning test on 1,000 carats. One carat is equivalent to one fifth of a gram thus five carats are equivalent to one gram.
In Zimbabwe diamonds are tendered online where three biggest bids will be invited.
The least carat traded in the country was $5 and the highest $20,115.