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Latest Antwerp gem auction raises $70m
27/02/2014 00:00:00
by Business Reporter
 
Better price per carat ... Walter Chidhakwa
 
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ZIMBABWE generated $70 million from its second Antwerp diamond auction with authorities attributing the better returns to a general improvement in the quality of the gems which helped push up revenues.

Proceeds from the second Antwerp auction improved 700 percent on returns from the first sale held in December.

The second sale, which was held last week yielded US$70 million from the 959,931 carats, compared to US$10,5 million achieved from 279, 723 carats sold last year.

In a statement Wednesday, Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa said the success of the tender and the better price-per-carat was due to the decision to clean a portion of the diamonds which resulted in many categories being upgraded to higher values.

In future, all goods would require cleaning prior to valuation, the minister added.

Of the total revenue generated, US$10,5 million is set to go to Treasury, representing the 15 percent royalty fee paid in by the selling companies.

Six mining companies contributed to the 959,931 carats. The US$70 million was far better than earlier forecasted revenues of around US$35 million, as a single carat was being auctioned at an average price of US$72,90.

The firmer prices likely reflect an improvement in the quality and marketing of the local gems, which was not the case in the first Antwerp sale.

Regarding December sale Mines and Minerals Development secretary Professor Francis Gudyanga said: "Overall, 89 percent of the goods offered consisted of low quality industrial goods.

“In general, goods were not optimally cleaned, sorted and parcels were not ideally composed.

The improved sale will likely see Zimbabwe strengthening its ties with the Antwerp Diamond World Centre, even as the Government has suggested that upcoming diamond sales will be in held in Dubai and Shanghai, respectively.



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