Gaborone, February 13, 2018 (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe plans to start sending rough diamonds to Botswana by June this year for cutting and polishing, before auctioning, to enhance revenue earnings from sales of the gems, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Tuesday.
Botswana, a major diamond producer, is home to the Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTC Botswana), the world’s largest rough diamond sorting and valuing operation, with a capacity to sort 45 million carats a year.
DTC Botswana is a 50/50 Joint Venture partnership between the Botswana government and De Beers.
Zimbabwe, which mines diamonds primarily in the Chiadzwa area of Marange in Manicaland province, has been auctioning rough diamonds which do not fetch high prices compared to cut and polished stones.
And it is against that background that Zimbabwe has sought assistance from Botswana.
President Mnangagwa, who has since arrived back home from Botswana where was on a two day State Visit, said Zimbabwe intended to utilise the advanced processing technology in that country.
“I am so impressed by the level of technology and advanced processing that takes place here,” he said after a tour of the DTC Botswana.
“Currently there is discussion between my Minister of Mines and the young man here (Botswana Minister of Mines) so that we bring our diamonds from Zimbabwe to be processed here. I am also aware, I have been told that you also process diamonds from South Africa even as far afield as Canada which speaks volumes of the quality of this centre here in Botswana.”
President Mnangagwa said his government was also consulting Botswana and Angola on the formulation of a diamond policy for Zimbabwe.
Expanding on the matter, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said the government was eager to maximize revenue from diamonds.
“The fact of the matter is Botswana has more advanced technology in terms of the cutting and polishing. So what is happening is an arrangement is at an advanced stage of being implemented whereby Zimbabwe would take its diamonds to Botswana,” he said.
“Discussions were held prior to the state visit and that has since been firmed up during the State Visit and has now been formalised as a result. At the latest by June we will have our diamonds being cleaned up in Botswana.”
Chitando was part of President Mnangagwa’s delegation to Botswana.
Statistics show that Zimbabwe’s diamond production rose to 1.8 million carats in 2017, from 961 000 carats mined in 2016.