23 February 2018

Zimbabwe: Gov Seek Assistance From Botswana Over the Sale of Diamonds

Photo: The Herald
Diamonds (file photo).

Government says it has asked Botswana to help improve the country's diamonds sector, mines minister Winston Chitando has said.

Minister Chitando was addressing a media briefing in Harare Thursday.

According to Chitando, Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) accumulated a stock pile of 1.558 million carats at the end of December 2017 which are now up for sale.

"Government has also 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 diamonds business," he said.

The first tender conducted by Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) was closed last Friday, Chitando said.

The just ended diamond tender was the first one after the country took a sabbatical from the market since March 2017.

This was also largely to ensure that there was adequate time to align the value addition, marketing and sales framework to international best price, according to Chitando.

Chitando said ZCDC took a deliberate decision in March last year to temporarily withdraw from the market and suspend diamond auctions to facilitate the orientation and capacitation of downstream Diamond Value management processes.

"In a bid to ensure total transparency and accountability in the marketing and the selling of diamonds, government will, each time an auction is conducted, communicate to the nation developments pertaining to the conduct of diamond sales from the state owned entities, ZMDC and MMCZ," said the mines Minister.

"It is encouraging to hear that the test sale realised a value of $829, 067 against a set reserve value of $620, 631 implying that the bids were above reserve value by over 30%, for example one special stone fetched $1. 888/carat."

Chitando added, "We have gained a lot of market intelligence from this one sale and are very optimistic about future sales."

The Mines Minister also said that ZCDC and MMCZ are pursuing a collaborative approach with other government agencies to promote Zimbabwe's diamonds globally.

At the just ended sale, 13 out of 49 invited international buyers attended.

The next diamond tender is scheduled to run from 5th to the 16th of March this year and invitations are currently being processed.

The tenders are and will be conducted on the basis of a reserve price.

Prior to the tender, MMCZ will do a valuation as well as contract a third party who will separately do another valuation.

The higher of the two valuations will constitute the reserve price.

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