Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Zimbabwe Diamond Mining Policy Ready for Approval

Diamond mining policy ready

Wednesday, 23 May 2012 00:00
Bright Madera Senior Business Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

THE Government’s Diamond Policy, seeking to ensure meaningful contribution of the gems to economic development, is expected to receive Cabinet approval next week, a senior official said in Harare this week.

Secretary for Mines and Mining Development Mr Prince Mupazviriho said the policy which dwells on beneficiation and value addition was ready and awaiting Cabinet approval.

“The policy should be approved this week or sometime next week,” he said.

Mr Mupazviriho was speaking yesterday at a workshop organised by the Centre for Research and Development on Zimbabwe’s diamonds and the Kimberley Process workshop in Harare.

The diamond policy also seeks to monitor the entire value chain of diamonds from mining, marketing, to distribution and collection of dues to Government.

Mr Mupazviriho also announced that 19 companies had been licensed for diamond cutting and polishing as part of moves to enhance benefitcation and value addition.

He said the approval of the diamond policy would lead to amendments of the Precious Stones Trade Act, which deals with trade issues only and not licensing, security, value addition and Kimberley Process issues.

“We need to bring on board all these issues,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s diamond industry has been growing following the discovery of alluvial diamonds in Marange. The challenge now is to develop local skills and technical support to exploit the natural resource.

About 25 percent of the world’s diamonds are reported to be in Zimbabwe.

India, one of Zimbabwe’s major diamond markets, is estimated to create about 60 000 jobs to cut and polish rough diamonds from Zimbabwe.

But with value addition, the diamond industry is expected to create employment for locals.

Mr Mupazviriho said Government faced challenges in cutting and polishing and the new law seeks to develop local skills and raise funding to capitalise local companies in the diamond industry.

“We are working with the School of Mines of Zimbabwe and other tertiary institutions in skills development,” he said.

He added that all the cutting and polishing companies being licensed would be compelled to contribute towards skills development and technical assistance.

It takes six months training and then a year for someone to work in the diamond cutting and polishing industry. Under the new diamond policy, Government is expected to come up with incentives for companies to invest in diamond cutting and polishing.

Mr Mupazviriho said studies conducted in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Angola had shown that there were diamond institutes to deal will the entire value chain.

He said it had been proposed that Zimbabwe adopt a similar set-up in the form of a diamond centre that will monitor diamond licensing and trading.

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