The Herald (Harare)

31 May 2012

Zimbabwe: Nation to Host International Diamond Talks

ZIMBABWE will next month hold its first international diamond conference in Victoria Falls where growth prospects of the local industry, among other issues, will be discussed, the organisers said yesterday.

The diamond conference, to be held between July 12 and 13, is being organised by Country Factor, in partnership with Utho Capital.

"This is an international forum that will address the state of and the changing dynamics in the international diamond industry from mine to market and how Zimbabwe can position itself to exploit its diamond wealth and how investors can partner in this growth," said the organisers.

"It (also) seeks to promote and provide insight into Zimbabwe's diamond industry and presenting exciting world-class developments as well as opportunities to investors interested in partnering in Zimbabwe's diamond industry across the entire diamond value chain."

Following the discovery of the gems in Marange, Zimbabwe has become a major player on the global diamond landscape. International industry experts say Zimbabwe could hold the future of the global diamond industry and could easily account for 25 percent of the world's supply by value and 30 percent by volume by 2015.

"The forum is an excellent opportunity to network and gain first-hand insight into Zimbabwe's diamond industry and trends and developments in the global diamond industry at large," said the organisers.

International speakers will include Eli Izhakoff, the chief executive and president of World Diamond Council; Vasant Mehta, the vice chairman; and directors of Gem & Jewellery Exporters Promotion Council and Ernie Blom, the vice chairman of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses.

Among Government speakers are Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara, Mines and Mining Development Minister Dr Obert Mpofu, Finance Minister Tendai Biti.

Companies exploiting diamonds in Zimbabwe include River Ranch in Beitbridge, Rio Tinto, which operates Murowa Diamonds in Zvishavane, Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Anjin, Diamond Mining Corp and Diamond Angel operating in Marange.

Zimbabwe had projected to earn US$600 million from diamond exports this year but it may not achieve the targets due to illegal sanctions by the US which prohibit free trade of the local gems.

In three months to March this year, diamond exports raked in US$214,2 million with US$122,5 million going into State coffers.

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