THE Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) has disputed reports that it is exporting diamonds to Botswana, but says it is drawing lessons from the neighbouring country’s mining and processing of the gems.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
ZCDC CEO Morris Mpofu said the government had facilitated engagement with entities in Botswana that are involved in the diamond industry.
Botswana is one of the largest producers of diamonds in the world with the sector accounting for above 85% of export revenues.
Gaborone has also managed to gradually reduce its reliance on the precious mineral through building capacity in other economic sectors, something that Zimbabwe is trying to emulate.
“In order to tap into Botswana’s experience in diamond mining, in 2017 the government of Zimbabwe engaged the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security in Botswana to facilitate engagements between its state entity ZCDC and other Botswana state entities such as the Minerals Development Corporation of Botswana, Diamond Trading Company of Botswana and the Botswana Diamond Hub,” Mpofu said.
ZCDC acknowledged the need to address bottlenecks in downstream processes that have for long led to poor branding of Marange diamonds, consequently resulting in under-pricing.
“Facilitated by the ministries of Mines from the two countries, ZCDC is engaging Botswana in the following areas of cooperation aimed at increasing operational efficiency, production effectiveness and industry growth: rough diamond mining and processing, sorting and valuation of rough diamonds, skills transfer and human capital development exchange programmes, product security models and technology transfer across the entire diamond value chain,” Mpofu added.
ZCDC has also set in motion programmess to capacitate the local cutting and polishing industry.
It is also spearheading the establishment of a Gemology Centre in Mutare whose planning is at an advanced stage.
Zimbabwe has not benefited much from the discovery of large diamond deposits in the Chiadzwa area in Manicaland due to leakages and lack of investment.