HARARE – Diamond players say the country has the potential to earn over $6,5 billion in revenue if all the gems are beneficiated.
Lovemore Kurotwi, the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Diamond Technology Centre yesterday said exporting the diamonds in their raw form does not benefit the country.
“Zimbabwe is lagging behind in beneficiating its minerals such as diamonds, gold, silver and platinum among others. As such we don’t make more money by selling millions of carats in their rough form,” he said during the launch of the Beneficiation Association of Zimbabwe.
Last year, the country produced 12 million carats of rough diamonds valued at $644 033 522,30, but failed to generate significant revenue or create jobs as almost all its diamonds were exported in their rough state.
Kurotwi noted that contrary to popular perception, local diamond players have the capacity to cut and polish the precious stones.
“We have the capacity to add value to all mined diamonds in the country, only that the playing field is not levelled. Foreigners can buy our diamonds without having to go through licensing fees yet local companies are forced to part with $100 000 licensing fees for them to buy diamonds.
“So this clearly shows that we have the capacity, yet we are constantly prejudiced compared to foreign buyers,” he said.
This comes as the southern African country has been pushing for beneficiation of its minerals in an effort to create employment and ease liquidity challenges in the country.
Richard Mvududu, the chairperson of the Beneficiation Association of Zimbabwe said with unemployment soaring at over 90 percent, government should seriously adopt value addition and reduce exportation of rough diamonds.
“We have 16 companies in the diamond industry and have the capacity to employ 600 people and produce 20 000 carats per month.
“There is need for beneficiation and value addition for our diamonds in order to create more revenue, build industry and create jobs in Zimbabwe. This would assist in developing our economy,” he said.