A number of diamond polishing firms that have been given permission by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Industry to set up shops in the country as Government intensifies efforts to get maximum value from the country’s diamonds. The companies have already shipped or are in the process of shipping diamond polishing equipment into the country.
The development follows a series of meetings that were held by Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe and several firms from China, Hong Kong, Dubai and Israel that were keen on investing in the country.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said more than 10 companies submitted their proposals and those approved are among some of the biggest diamond polishing companies in the world.
“At the moment the companies that we have approved have not started operating because they want access to the diamonds that match the quality that they are looking for,” the minister said.
Minister Chidhakwa said there were also budgetary issues that needed approval before the polishing firms start operating. The local diamond has attracted many investors and according to highly placed sources in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
International diamond players such as First Element Diamond Services of Botswana, are flocking to Zimbabwe for opportunities to exploit the country’s diamond deposits.
“First Element is among the group of foreign investment companies that are currently engaged in negotiations over possible exploration of the local diamond fields,” the source said.
According to the source the company is expected to clinch a deal with Government that is likely to see the company getting vast diamond claims in the country.
First Element is Belgian company which provides diamond cleaning, valuation, sorting and marketing services has offices in Gaborone, Johannesburg and Antwerp. Minister Chidhakwa, however, said he was not aware of the intention by the Belgian mining company’s intention to explore diamonds.
“I cannot confirm or deny because as you know many foreigners are coming to our offices and maybe the issues were discussed in the deputy minister’s office. The best person to communicate with is the Permanent secretary,” he said. However, efforts to communicate with Professor Francis Gudyanga proved fruitless as his phone went unanswered.
Minister Chidhakwa said the country Zimbabwe stood to reap immense benefits by value adding diamonds.
Zimbabwe, which is currently the seventh largest producer of diamonds in the world, has potential to supply 25 percent of global demand and has also been tipped to become the third biggest producer by the end of this decade.
Currently, there are four diamond-mining firms operating in Chiadzwa diamond fields in Marange, namely Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Anjin and Diamond Mining Corporation.