ZIMBABWE this week tendered 120 000 carats of diamonds from its Marange fields that could fetch between US$6 million and US$8,4 million at current average prices obtaining on the international market for Chiadzwa diamonds.
By Taurai Mangudhla
First Element Diamond Services executive director and country manager for Zimbabwe Tim Wilkes told businessdigest this week that all the diamonds submitted for tender are from the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Corporation (ZCDC) and can easily fetch an average of US$50 and US$70 per carat in line with the prevailing average price of Zimbabwe’s diamonds on the market.
ZCDC started mining activities in March this year after government shut down all operations in Marange and Murowa on grounds that companies had failed to renew special grant permits.
The Zimbabwe Diamond Tender Facility is run by First Element — a company with Belgian roots and also registered in Botswana and South Africa.
“The demand for diamonds is generally better at the moment compared to recent times which is a plus in terms of the valuation so it won’t be difficult to get the US$70 and that is good for the producers,” he said.
Marange diamonds are 90% industrial and only 10% gem.
First Element started independent diamond offices and a tender house in Harare in October 2014 and has held 17 tender processes.
“The company has a world class facility with 12 viewing rooms which is double what we have in Belgium and we also have a deep boiling plant to clean the diamonds and add value for the producer,” Wilkes said.
He said his company has sold over 4,2 million carats valued at between US$210 million and US$294 million at the current prices being fetched by Zimbabwean diamonds on the market in Harare and another US$2,4 million in Dubai for Zimbabwe. He added 3 000 individuals from about 50 companies have over the years come to Harare for the tenders.
According to official figures from the Ministry of Mines, ZCDC produced 387 551 diamond carats and sold 362 238 of them realising US$19,7 million in gross turnover, two months into operation.
Mines secretary Francis Gudyanga last week told a Chamber of Mines annual general meeting in Victoria Falls that in March ZCDC sold 156 168 carats and 206 010 in April this year at US$55 per carat.
He said out of the US$19,7 million gross turnover, US$3,7 million went towards statutory costs, leaving the entity with US$16 million net turnover. Cumulative for the two months were pegged at US$7,7 million.
“ZCDC has so far recorded positive performance in both volume and value for the first two months of its operation.
The major driver of performance is the technological transformation of processes through the fifth-generation XRT plant,” he said.
“Capacity upgrade is critical to protect both the revenue and margins going.”