Mines and Mining Development deputy minister Fred Moyo has revealed that the country is losing up to 40% revenue from exporting raw instead of processed diamonds.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Speaking at the official launch of the Kenako Diamond Processing Company, Moyo said the coming-in of a second diamond cleaning firm in the country would go a long way in reducing the millions of dollars being lost from selling unprocessed gems.
“Our diamonds have been undervalued by at least 40%. The level of prejudice was most unfortunate and we are happy that we now have two companies that are cleaning the diamonds before export,” Moyo said.
“Diamond cleaning not only adds beauty to the diamonds, but most importantly, gives the correct value to the diamonds. It is possible that Zimbabwean diamonds, especially those from the Marange area, may have fetched much lower prices because they have a coating that prevents true evaluation, thereby affecting their correct worth.”
Moyo said the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) would be transformed into a strong marketing unit for the extractive sector.
The value of diamonds is determined by colour, clarity, cut and carat.
Kenako has a capacity to clean about 1,5 million carats a month, but it is receiving a paltry 40 000 from MMCZ for processing.
Kenako managing director, Barbara Mutambanengwe said sometimes clear diamonds were being sold as rough diamonds because there was no cleaning, which is the first step of value addition.
She said their coming into the sector would help the country realise maximum revenue from the diamonds.
Francisco Kgoboko, a technical partner from Botswana, said almost 80% of Zimbabwean diamonds have a coating, which should be cleaned first before selling.
He said the coming-in of Kenako would be handy in that cleaning would be done locally and skills transfer would be done domestically as well.