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Zim to polish, cut own diamonds
01/09/2010 00:00:00
by AFP
 
Giant step ... Zimbabwe to cut, polish own diamonds
 
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A DIAMOND firm operating from Zimbabwe's Marange diamond fields has begun constructing a multi-million dollar cutting and polishing centre in the country, officials said 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 Biti)," 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 US dollars, according to government figures.
 
Upon completion, the centre is expected to create 7,000 jobs.

Cougan Matanhire, chairman of Canadile miners said the centre would funnel all the rough diamond streams of Zimbabwe into one professional and 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 Marange fields could produce 40 million carats annually.
 
Once fully completed, the 20 million US dollar 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.



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