HARARE, January 15 (The Source) – Zimbabwe’s state diamond company is this year expected to produce 3 million carats up from 1,8 million carats last year, Mines minister Winston Chitando told Parliament on Monday.
The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) was formed in 2016 after government kicked out mining firms from Marange diamond fields and nationalized their operations.
“In 2016, ZCDC produced 961,000 carats which increased to 1,8 million carats in 2017. The plan is that ZCDC should produce at least 3 million carats in 2018. Optimisation opportunities will be explored to insure if production can not go further than that,” Chitando told parliament’s committee on mines on Monday.
At its peak in 2012, Zimbabwe’s diamond sector produced 12 million carats.
Appearing before the same committee, Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) acting general manager Masimba Chandavengerwa said the diamond cutting and polishing industry was failing to absorb its quota of gems reserved for local firms.
Ten percent of the country’s annual diamond output is reserved for local cutters to promote beneficiation and value addition.
In 2008, government licensed 17 diamond cutting and polishing companies. The number grew to 24 by 2014 but according to the association of diamond cutters only 12 remain operational.
“What we are finding is that there is no capacity to take up those diamonds locally..we have just run an auction for the local cutters where we put in 20,000 carats and only about 700 carats were taken up,” said Chandavengerwa.
“We do cut as per law and expose to the local market the mandated 10 percent and that which they dont buy we put on the international tender.”