/ 1 September 2010

Zim firm builds diamond cutting, polishing centre

A diamond firm operating from Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond fields has begun constructing a multimillion-dollar cutting and polishing centre in the country, officials said on Tuesday.

The Zimbabwe Diamond Technology Centre, which is being constructed by Canadile miners, one of the three firms operating in Marange, is set to become operational within six months.

Faber Chidarikire, governor for Mashonaland West province said the diamond industry was set to revive the country’s economic woes.

“The ailing country’s economy shall be revived through the proceeds, marketing rates, making life easy for the minister of finance [Tendai Bit]),” Chidarikire said.

Early this month, Zimbabwe resumed trading of Marange diamond sales since international regulators partially lifted a ban imposed after the military seized control of the mines.

The sale generated about $30-million, according to
government figures.

Promise of 40-million carats annually
Upon completion, the centre is expected to create 7 000 jobs.

Cougan Matanhire, chairperson of Canadile miners, said the centre would funnel all the rough diamond streams of Zimbabwe into one high security area.

“This is the centre where we will transform rough diamonds into polished diamonds,” Matanhire told delegates who attended the launch.

A Belgian diamond expert, Filip Van Laere, said the Marange fields could produce 40-million carats annually.

Once completed, the $20-million centre will have among other things banks, a diamond college and insurance firms.

In January, diamond watchdog Kimberley Process halted the sale of stones from Zimbabwe’s eastern Marange diamond fields after documenting military abuses against civilians.

The Zimbabwean government reacted by imposing a blanket ban on the export of diamonds until the Kimberley Process gave its Marange diamonds a clean bill of health. – AFP