STATE-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) plans gem auctions outside the country including in Asian cities to widen marketing options amid a market glut that has steadily made polished stones cheaper.
ZCDC acting chief executive officer Mr Rob de Pretto told an online publication, miningweekly.com that the diamond producer should explore and penetrate the international market to boost sales volumes. In this light, ZCDC plans 11 international tenders for diamonds next year.
“All those big companies like De Beers and Alrosa are also doing it, so we must also be there with them,” he said in an emailed response to questions.
“Harare is not a choice with many international buyers. By going to Dubai, Hong Kong, Antwerp and all those places, that is where the international buyers are,” he said.
The tenders will be conducted by the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe. In its third auction of the year in September, MMCZ offered 316 000 carats in Harare, which attracted 25 buyers from Belgium, Dubai, India, Israel and South Africa.
ZCDC has cut its diamond production forecast for this year by 24 percent to 3,1 million carats, but sees a rebound to 6,12 million carats in 2020. In total, Zimbabwe expects 4,1 million carats output this year from 2,8 million carats in 2018. At the peak of production in 2012, Zimbabwe’s production was 12 million carats.
In June this year, MMCZ general manager Mr Tongai Muzenda said the country invited seven international diamond buyers to participate in a private sale of nearly two million carats produced by ZCDC. This was after Zimbabwe had postponed the sale of diamonds as authorities wanted to understand processes and procedures involved in diamond marketing.
ZCDC was formed in March 2016 after the Government evicted all diamond mining firms in the Chiadzwa fields following the expiry of their licences. Under a private sale, selected buyers are invited for valuations of diamond parcels available for sale. Buyers purchasing from African mines and selling to stores in cities such as New York, London and Hong Kong are being squeezed by oversupply and tighter bank financing.
De Beers, the world’s biggest diamond producer, is said to have lowered prices by five at its sale in November this year to cushion the middlemen that trade and polish its rough gemstones. —miningweekly.com/Business Chronicle