Mugabe hints at Botswana gem model

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ZIMBABWE is streamlining its diamond sector so that only one or two companies remain operational in the country, President Robert Mugabe has said.
The veteran leader was quoted Friday as saying that the country needs to emulate its diamond producing neighbours that have very few diamond mining firms.
Currently, there are seven companies mining gems in Marange in the eastern part of the country.
Discovered in 2006, the Marange diamond field has been reported to contain huge diamond deposits capable of satisfying 25 percent of the global market.
The government has partnered some foreign firms in mining the Marange gems.
“In fact, we are reorganizing the diamond industry so that we create one or just two companies not more than that, like we have in South Africa, in Botswana, Namibia, Angola. You do not have multiplicity of companies doing diamonds,” the president said.
He said the state, one or two companies and a possible foreign partner were all that Zimbabwe needed to exploit its gems.
“A partner who is reliable, who has also capacity from the point of view of technology as indeed also from the point of view of investment capital,” Mugabe said.
Since commercial exploitation of the Marange gems began a few a years ago, the government is expecting diamond revenue to play a considerable role in economic revival efforts.
The country held its first ever diamond auction in Antwerp last December, generating 10.7 million U.S. dollars from the sale of about 300,000 carats of diamonds.
A second auction at Antwerp of about 900,000 carats ran from Feb. 12 to 21.
The government has said it plans to widen its market base by selling its diamonds in the United Arab Emirates, China and Botswana before it begins domestic sales possibly by June this year.Advertisement