VICTORIA FALLS — Zimbabwe has the potential to produce up to 10% of international rough diamond production and be a price- setter in the industry if afforded a level playing field, a leading world diamonds expert has said.
Report by Mernat Mafirakureva Acting Business Editor
Tacy Limited president Chaim Even-Zohar told about 300 delegates attending the inaugural diamond conference that the country’s rough diamonds were being sold at 25% discount due to limited access to direct markets.
Even-Zohar said sanctions imposed on the country were making it difficult for the marketing of the gemstones.
“Although you are totally Kimberley Process Certification Scheme compliant, major companies are scared of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (United States) and you sell your goods at 25% less in value,” he said.
“As a result, you are not capturing the full value of your goods. If you want to get the best prices you ought to have direct access to markets.”
Even-Zohar said African diamond producers accounted for 61% of global diamond value and 56% of world carats. He said the global market was in need of Zimbabwe’s gems.
“Zimbabwe is almost a gift chunk from heaven. There are good mines here.
“We need Zimbabwe production. We want you to unlock the diamond wealth because we all need it,” he said.
South Africa Mineral Resources minister Susan Shabangu urged Western countries to lift sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe to enable it to realise its full potential.
“As South Africa and Sadc, we are committed that the economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe are lifted,” she said.
“The sanctions don’t affect Zimbabwe alone, but the rest of Africa.” Shabangu said the regional bloc had appointed a committee to ensure that outstanding issues in Zimbabwe were resolved.