Central Bank diamond subsidiary buys cutting and polishing equipment, targets export market

Central Bank diamond subsidiary buys cutting and polishing equipment, targets export market

HARARE, August 3 (The Source) – Aurex Diamonds, a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe says it now has the capacity to cut and polish diamonds on a large scale for the export market following the acquisition of new equipment from India.

Diamond processing is concentrated in a few countries with India processing approximately 55 percent of the world’s diamonds by value.

Other countries include Israel, South Africa and Belgium.

Aurex’s general manager, Pasi Munhumutema, told journalists during a tour of the plant that the new equipment, which employs laser technology has capacity to process up to 10,000 carats per month.

“Previously we had capacity to process only 200 carats per month but this new equipment automates 75 percent of the production process,” said Munhumutema.

In addition to the cutting and polishing, Aurex, which was set up in 1992, also manufactures jewellery. The company has also set up several retail jewellery shops around the country.

“For now our jewellery unit is consuming all the diamonds that we process but going forward the plan is to cut and polish diamonds at a large scale for the export market because we now have the capacity to do so,” said Munhumutema.

The company is currently operating below capacity as a result of depressed supply of diamonds after the government kicked off seven miners from the Marange diamond fields in February, resulting in production dropping by about 83 percent in the ensuing three months.

“We have entered into a toll arrangement with the (new state-controlled miner) Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) where we will be processing their diamonds for them before they can be exported so when that arrangement kicks in next month we are expecting volumes to up.”