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Pres. Mugabe Addresses Zimbabwe Diamond Conference

Nov 7, 2014 12:27 PM   By Zimbabwe Diamond Conference
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Press Release:  The second Zimbabwe Diamond Conference started on November 6 with an official opening ceremony presided over by President Robert Mugabe. A major theme of his speech was the necessity for the country to be allowed to bring in advanced technological equipment to enable Zimbabwe to explore and exploit its diamond resources much more efficiently for the benefit of investors and the people of the country.

"We have rationalized the diamond mining licensing system for the benefit of the government and of private companies," Mugabe told an audience of around 1,000 people. "We expect to see more expansion of our diamond industry. We have also formulated strategies for the marketing of diamonds and, to that end, we have seen successful sales in Antwerp and in Dubai. We have overcome some of the challenges of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and we should now focus on enabling the local diamond industry to benefit and transform the lives of local citizens.

"We require scientific approaches to the mining sector. African producer states have a lot to gain from being not just extractors of diamonds but also beneficiating diamonds with the use of modern technology," he added.

The conference, organized by Zimbabwe's Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, in the capital, Harare, has a focus of Completing Zimbabwe’s Diamond Potential for the Future. It aims to present the progress made by the country's diamond trade following its admission as a member of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in 2011. The inaugural Zimbabwe Diamond Conference took place at Victoria Falls in November 2012.

The conference is being attended by African mining ministers, and hosted by Zimbabwe's Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Walter K. Chidakwa, who addressed the conference on behalf of the Zimbabwean government. He said the mining sector had been the most dynamic sector of the Zimbabwean economy over the past five years, leading the 2009 to 2011 rebound with average annualized growth of 35 percent.

"Diamond production and export sales have generally been on an upward trend since 2009. Production in 2010 rose significantly from about 1.4 million carats in 2009 to about 8.5 million carats in 2010. The average price per carat rose from about $24 per carat to about $40 between 2009 and 2010. Export sales increased dramatically from about $33.3 million in 2009 to about $341.5 million in 2010.

"The geological environment that hosts the Marange-type diamond deposits is potentially extensive, requires further exploration and is considered to have one of the highest concentrations of alluvial diamonds in the world. The discovery of the Marange diamond fields marked a turning point, elevating the country’s position as a diamond producing country globally. Despite the diamond discoveries made, Zimbabwe still remains largely under explored and therefore presents huge opportunities for new discoveries.

"The government recently published a statutory instrument that rationalizes the diamond cutting and polishing licensing system in such a manner that both government and the private companies benefit from the revenue of the business. In pursuance of this objective we are finalizing discussion with companies for full integration from mining through cutting and polishing to jewelry manufacturing, product branding and international marketing and distribution," he added.

Following the minister, Prof. Francis Gudyanga, the permanent secretary at Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, said, "We are gathered here today to tap into the global wealth of experience of world diamond experts, dignitaries from African diamond producing countries, senior government officials and representatives of local diamond mining companies, and to come up with strategies for the sustainable growth and development of the local diamond industry and of the country as a whole.

"In this edition of the Zimbabwe Diamond Conference we are keen to discuss how diamonds can be mined to benefit African nations and foreign investors. The conference is to deliberate, looking at international best practices, appropriate fiscal regimes and come up with strategies that the country can implement. We need to look at how we can introduce modern exploration techniques for expediting more diamond discoveries."

Leaders of international diamond industry organizations pledged their assistance in supporting Zimbabwe in exploiting its diamonds for the benefit of its citizens. These included Eli Izhakoff, the honorary president of the World Diamond Council, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and of the CIBJO;  Ernie Blom, the president of the WFDB; Gaetano Cavalieri, the president of CIBJO;  Ahmed Bin Sulayem, the executive chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre,  and Ari Epstein, the CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre.

The first day of the conference ended with a panel discussion -- From Zimbabwean Mines To The World, featuring Robert Mhlanga, the chairman of Mbada Diamonds (Private) Ltd;  Farai Mutamangira, the legal advisor to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development of Zimbabwe;  Francis Gudyanga and Abbey Chikane, the first chair of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

To see the speeches in full from the first day of the second Zimbabwe Diamond Conference, visit our YouTube address: https://www.youtube.com/user/ZDC2014

It is estimated that Zimbabwe's diamond potential can enable it to produce 25 percent of the world's alluvial diamonds. The European Union last year removed sanctions on Zimbabwe's diamond mining companies. The Marange area in Eastern Zimbabwe, which covers 300 square miles in Chiadzwa, is ranked as the world's largest diamond producing deposit. It is estimated that the region produced close to 17 million carats in 2013, representing around 13 percent of global rough supply.


Rapaport News is not responsible for, and does not endorse, the content of any third-party press release. This is not a Rapaport Press Release. It has been provided as additional information for our clients.

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Tags: conference, diamond, mining, Robert Mugabe, speech, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Diamond Conference
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