Zimbabwe Gems Shake World Market
Republic of Zimbabwe Minister of Mines Obert Mpofu has challenged the DeBeers diamond corporation for its theft of resources from the Southern African state. Zimbabwe has one of the largest diamond deposits in the world., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Zimbabwe gems shake world market
Saturday, 18 August 2012 23:00
Itai Mazire and Shiana Mhizha
Zimbabwean diamonds continue to dominate the international market, with the Kimberly Process (KP) reporting that the country is now the world’s fifth largest producer.
In its 2011 report, the KP said local diamond production continued to surge despite major declines in several top producing countries.
Zimbabwe is second after Russia in terms of production margin increase and ranked fifth among the top nine diamond-producing countries.
The KP report also indicated that the economic sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies were forcing Zimbabwe to sell its precious stones at a lower price.
“In 2011, Zimbabwe exported its goods at a price of US$54,31 per carat, though their book price was US$56,01 per carat.
“This confirms the previously published reports citing some sources to the effect that because of an unclear legal status of diamonds coming from Zimbabwe, this country sold them low to get at least some money.
“Zimbabwe is ranked five, recorded a marginal increase of 0,7 percent to reach 8,5 million carats from 8,4 million carats in 2010,” reads part of the report.
The report further states that Russia was the top producer after increasing rough diamond production by 0,8 percent to 35,1 million carats followed by Botswana which churned out 22,9 million carats, an increase of 4 percent.
In third position is the Democratic Republic of Congo followed by Canada in fourth.
The two recorded a 13 percent and 8,8 percent decline in production, respectively.
Angola, South Africa, Australia and Namibia complete the list of top producers for 2011, and are reported to have all recorded a sharp production decline.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Dr Obert Mpofu said the rankings in the KP report were a clear indication that diamonds mined in Marange were satisfying world demand.
“We were recently given certification by the KP (to export diamonds), but we have already shaken the world market both in terms of production and demand,” he said.
“Our gems are a force to reckon with. If we had not been hindered in selling our diamonds in the past years by the West, we could be one of the top countries in the world in terms of diamond production.”
Dr Mpofu added: “If you look at the price of our diamonds captured in the KP report, one can easily see that we are selling the diamonds at a low price as a result of the sanctions that have been imposed on our diamond companies.
“It has become difficult for our diamond-producing companies in Chiadzwa to sell their gems despite the KP certification.”