A NEW diamond cleaning firm, Kenako Diamond Processing, has been set up to value add the country’s gems and make them more presentable on the international market.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
In an interview with NewsDay at a media cocktail in the capital last Friday, the company’s managing director Barbara Mutambanengwe said the country’s diamonds have been fetching less because they have a coating that needs to be cleaned before getting onto the market.
She said her company was licensed last September and is currently housed at Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) offices in Harare.
“Kenako is a Zimbabwe registered company, wholly indigenous, and we are in the business of cleaning diamonds. Zimbabwe diamonds have a coating around them and have been fetching low prices because of that,” Mutambanengwe said.
“We have come up with a technology where we will clean the diamonds so that they can be better valued. After that coating is removed one can clearly see the colour and the value goes up.”
Mutambanengwe described diamond cleaning as the first and crucial stage of diamond processing that has a bearing on the total revenue to be realised from mining.
“Everybody has been rushing to do mining, but I believe offering services in the industry would be more fulfilling. There was a gap for cleaning, which is the first of value addition.
“As Kenako our core business is diamond cleaning, but we also pre-value and after-value the diamonds. That gives the government a clear idea of how much they are worth,” she said.
The diamond industry has been dogged by a number of challenges, among them illicit export, under-valuing and corruption.
Mutambanengwe said they will be assisting government in ensuring that there is accountability, honesty and integrity in the sector.
She said she got training in diamond cleaning in Botswana.