Government has conducted its first diamond sale since the consolidation of mining under the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company in Chiadzwa which raked close to US$1 million.
The sale surpassed Government's anticipated target of US$620 631. Although Government could not reveal the number of carats auctioned, one special carat was fetching US$1 888, which is a remarkably improved figure from previous sales where the gems were sold for US$50 or less.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Cde Winston Chitando told journalists in Harare yesterday that Government was happy with the prices fetched by the diamonds.
He said the next sale was due next month.
"It was encouraging to note that the test sale realised a value of US$829 067 against a set reserve value of US$620 631 implying that the bids were above reserve value by over 30 percent," he said.
"For example, one special stone fetched US$1 888 per carat. Government is encouraged with the fact that the diamond world is fully aware that Zimbabwe is back on the market. Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company are now working on a sales calendar so that diamond buyers will plan in advance and participate regularly in our auction sales."
Cde Chitando continued: "We have gained a lot of market intelligence from this one sale and we are very optimistic about future sales. ZCDC and MMCZ are pursuing a collaborative approach with other Government agencies to promote Zimbabwe's diamonds globally. Government has enlisted the assistance of Botswana and is optimistic that this will unlock significant value for the nation given the vast experience by Botswana in the diamond business.
"The next diamond tender is scheduled to run from 5 to 16 March 2018 and invitations are currently being processed." Another update will be given after that tender and subsequently after each and every tender, though such updates will not necessarily be through a press conference."
Cde Chitando said 13 out of 49 invited international buyers drawn from countries such as Belgium, Botswana, India and South Africa attended the auction.
He said prior to the auction, MMCZ did a valuation and an independent evaluator was engaged to do a separate valuation.
From March to December 17 the same year, Cde Chitando said, ZCDC accumulated a diamond stockpile of 1, 558 million carats which were now up for sale.
He said the first auction of the stockpile closed on February 9, 2018.
The 100 percent State-owned ZCDC took a deliberate decision in March last year to temporarily withdraw from the market and suspended all diamond auctions to pave way for reorientation and capacitation of downstream diamond value management processes.
The move was also aimed at ensuring adequate time to realign the value addition, marketing and sales framework to international best practices.