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Zim lacks diamond processing skills


Zimbabwe lacks technical skills in diamond cutting, polishing and valuation to ascertain the true value of the precious stones mined in the country, a legislator has said.
Pearson Mungofa, the MP for Highfields East (MDC-T) and owner of a diamond-cutting and polishing company, Precious Gem Art, said: “The problem with Zimbabwe’s diamonds is that there is no expertise to sort diamonds into different grades because our diamonds are sold as industrial gems or mere gems, without considering their sizes, colour, shape and clarity.
“We have a danger that we might not fetch good prices equivalent to the value of our diamonds.”
The Rapaport Diamond Report, a monthly wholesale price list used by diamond dealers worldwide, says prices for diamonds are determined by size, shape, colour and clarity.
Mungofa said the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development was not keen to know how the quality of diamonds was determined and were leaving the whole process to the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ).
Mungofa said MMCZ did not have the technical expertise to grade the diamonds, resulting in the sale of Zimbabwe’s diamonds as either gems or industrial diamonds.
Zimbabwe recently sold 90 000 carats of diamonds after being granted authority by Kimberley Process and realised $72 million, amid speculation the country could have fetched more had the gems been properly valuated.
Mungofa said if valuation of Zimbabwe’s gems was not thoroughly done, foreign mining companies stood to benefit more at the expense of the country.
“Our diamonds are controlled by foreigners who are extracting in Chiadzwa. They can declare some of the stones and undervalue others.
“As long as our government has no professional valuators, we might not get the maximum benefits that we need,” Mungofa said.
He said in other countries such as Botswana, information about the value of their diamonds was published in newspapers to avoid speculation.
“In Botswana, people know the value of their gems, just

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