PHILLIMON MHLANGA

The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), a wholly government owned company has generated $28,3 million from a recent local diamond auction after trading 423 066,43 carats.

A single carat was auctioned at an average price of $67.

It was the country’s first sale of the precious stone since February this year after ZCDC had temporarily exited the market to allow for the development and implementation of an effective diamond value management framework and establishment of a robust marketing and sales strategy.

The new strategy is expected to see ZCDC conducting regular diamond sales tenders locally through MMCZ. The diamond mining company will, however, create contact selling arrangements for big parcels and ensure market diversity by exploring lucrative selling opportunities in Antwerp, Dubai and Shanghai, among other key markets. Funds generated from the sale of the gems could uplift the ailing economy.

The development was revealed by Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, who yesterday disclosed that a total of 423 066,43 carats were sold between August 28 and September 12 2018.

He also indicated that a total of 29 diamond buyers out of the 122 invited buyers participated in the ZCDC tender which was done through the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ). The buyers came from United Arab Emirates, India, Israel, Belgium, Canada, Hong Kong, Namibia and South Africa.

“The recent ZCDC diamond sales tender (three) conducted from August 28 to September 12,2018, has been concluded, where 423 066,43 carats were put on sale,” Chitando said.

“Government is pleased to announce that the submitted bid value totalled $28,3 million and ZCDC and MMCZ are currently invoicing the successful bidders for payment. The bid average price was about $67 per carat.”

Chitando said ZCDC and MMCZ would conduct two more tenders between October and December this year, adding that the country will continue to enhance the marketing and sales framework in order to build market confidence and to ensure sales volume and price sustainability.

He said from January to December 2019, ZCDC expects to sustain its diamond sales and supply to its customers from its stock holdings and increased production resulting from the full utilisation of its new conglomerate plant.

ZCDC gained control of all diamond concessions in Chiadzwa, a ward in Mutare District two years ago.

There were several companies mining diamonds in Chiadzwa, including Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Anjin Investments (which was jointly owned by the Chinese military and their Zimbabwean counterparts), DMC, Jinan, Rera, Kusena and Gye Nyame.

The diamond mining companies had, however, hit a hard rock and alluvial deposits had been depleted.

Now, ZCDC has begun to extract conglomerate diamonds. The diamond mining company recently announced plans to increase production of diamonds by 488 percent to 10 million carats in the next five years from 1,7 million carats produced last year.

The target, he highlighted, would place Zimbabwe as one of the top five rough diamond producers in the world.

A new diamond policy which many expect to do away with consolidation is expected to be announced soon.