30 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Zim Polishing Diamonds

Photo: Denford Magora
The reddish-coloured diamonds of Marange.

ZIMBABWE is able to add value to raw diamonds and export them as a finished product, an expert said yesterday. Zimbabwe Diamond Education College (ZDEC) principal Mr Stephen Muchenje said Zimbabwe now had the manpower to cut and polish diamonds produced in the country.

He was speaking during a media familiarisation tour of the college in Mt Hampden.

"Knowledge to polish diamonds produced in Zimbabwe is now available and that is another way in which people can benefit from the country's minerals," said Mr Muchenje.

"Courses are now on offer in Zimbabwe which cater for rough diamond evaluation and grading to cutting and polishing.

"If diamonds are exported as a finished product the country would generate the much needed revenue that encourages economic growth."

Mr Muchenje said construction of cutting centres would employ people from various sectors of the industry.

"People from the construction industry to those who are involved in jewellery production would be employed. It establishes and promotes up and down stream industries leading to an economic boom in all sectors."

He said it was painful to note that diamonds produced in Zimbabwe were polished outside the country and get back with inflated prices which is not affordable to rightful owners of the natural resources.

"A lot has been said about diamonds in Zimbabwe and a little has been said on value addition. Cutting and polishing firms in Zimbabwe are dominated by foreigners who are in turn repatriating money to their respective countries. It is advisable that people are empowered through the cutting industry," said Mr Muchenje.

He said other countries would not come to establish cutting firms in Zimbabwe without hidden motives.

"Big countries that attend diamond conferences are not diamond producers but they intend to capitalise on industries we are reluctant to establish. We must have a vision and ensure minerals benefit future generations," said Mr Muchenje.

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