The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Mpofu for Dubai Diamond Conference

MINES and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu will be among keynote speakers at the inaugural Dubai Diamond Conference on March 18 and 19. The event, organised by the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre in conjunction with the Dubai Diamond Exchange, will be held at the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre.

The centre is housed in the Almas Tower in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, the Middle East's tallest commercial tower and home to over 1 000 diamond, precious metals, precious stones and jewellery companies. Zimbabwe has gained prominence in the diamond industry following a spirited campaign by Western countries to prevent the free trade of diamonds from Chiadzwa.

The country only received the green light to export the gems without seeking approval from the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme last year but sanctions against companies operating in Chiadzwa remain in force.

Zimbabwe is the world's seventh biggest diamond producer with a capacity to meet 25 percent of the global diamonds demand.

The high-level conference will bring together delegates and keynote speakers from Africa, the Middle East and Asia, including several ministers of mines and mineral resources from leading African producing countries.

Other keynote speakers include South African Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, Angolan Geology, Mines and Industry Minister Dr Francisco Queiroz, and Namibian Mines and Energy Minister Isak Katali.

The speakers are expected to provide delegates with insights from their respective roles, covering topics ranging from mining to polishing, trading to finance and diamond banking.

Other issues to be discussed include diamond trading, banking and finance along the "New Silk Route" for diamonds.

DMCC executive chairman Mr Ahmed Bin Sulayem said: "In a short 10 years, and in line with the vision and determination of Dubai's leadership, the emirate has become one of the leading diamond centres in the world.

"The year 2013 will be pivotal for the global diamond trade and at DMCC we are honoured to host and bring together our valued trading partners from across the globe to experience first-hand how Dubai has quickly become an essential part of the 'New Silk Route'."

The conference will provide an opportunity to build relationships between companies and governments in producing and consumer countries, with a focus on the role the Middle East plays along the trade route for diamonds -- also known as the New Silk Route.

DDE chairman Mr Peter Meeus said: "The global diamond industry is going through a historic transformation, with the centre of gravity shifting significantly eastwards to Africa, the Middle East, India and China.

"Asia polishes, Africa has the rough diamonds, and Dubai has the trade links to both the producing countries in Africa and the major consumers in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

"As the only diamond industry conference in the region, the DDC will welcome ministers of mines from key African countries, leading diamantaires, industry experts and trade members from around the world to discuss what opportunities arise from this shift and how to manage this shift and further cement relationships between these international market participants."

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