Harare – Zimbabwe pocketed $92 million worth of diamond exports in the ten months period to December 2018, latest figures from the Zimbabwe National statistics agency shows.
The highest export value was recorded in December, coming in at $19 million, an increase of 138% from $8 million worth of exports recorded in the previous month. This out turn ranked fourth among the top 10 most exported products by value for the respective month.
Most of the country’s diamond fields are in Marange in eastern Zimbabwe, where production is dominated by the state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC). The company set a target to produce 3.5 million carats in 2018, up from 2.5 million in 2017.
Zimbabwe has a capacity to supply 25% of global diamond demand and is projected to have the world’s most expanse reserves. In 2012 the sector produced 12 million carats which if restored can easily place the commodity as the top export product for Zimbabwe by value.
Comparatively, diamond exports value is ranking well below other commodities on fourth position behind tobacco, gold and nickel respective of the order of export value on a monthly basis.
Meanwhile, the world’s top diamond producer by output, Alrosa (MCX:ALRS) and China’s Anjin have been chosen by Zimbabwe’s government to partner with the state-owned diamond miner in exploring and digging for precious stones in the country.
The move is part of the Zimbabwe National Diamond Policy, approved in December last year, aimed at reviving the country’s diamond industry.
On the local front, ZCDC is stepping up the establishment of diamond extraction operations in Chihota communal lands in Marondera District, which will go a long way in improving diamond production in the country.
The extraction of diamond has been a contested area between government and private players, the major highlight was when government in February 2016 ordered seven companies operating in the Marange fields, consisting of Anjin, Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Diamond Mining Company (DMC), Jinan, Gye Nyame and Kusena, to stop all mining activities and leave immediately ostensibly because their licences had expired.
The State-run ZCDC, formed in March 2016 took over all diamond mining after government had evicted all the firms operating in the Marange fields in the east of the country
In a bid to revive the country’s economy, the new government has earmarked agriculture, mining and tourism as the key drivers to that revival. Tobacco and gold exports have been somewhat exceptional, smashing previously held records and on the other side the tourism sector has also reported positive changes.
The issue of policy formulation attractive to international and local investors has continuously been stressed upon, if any hope of economic revival is to be achieved. For instance, analysts insist that government should repeal the controversial Indigenisation and Economic Act, 2008, to enable Zimbabwe to attract more foreign investments with low FDI inflows over the years being recorded.
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