Government has been urged to consider banning rough diamond exports and ensure the beneficiation of the gems to maximise profits. The call was made by Zimbabwe Diamond Centre chairman Mr Lovemore Kurotwi yesterday during a tour of the ZDC’s first batch of state-of-the-art diamond polishing and beneficiation equipment sourced from an India-based firm Sahajanand Laser Technology.
He said the new machinery was known as “diamond laser technology” and more kits were expected in the country soon.
The new equipment, Mr Kurotwi said, was a total solution to the diamond cutting and polishing process.
“We are saying whatever diamond that we have we should polish locally and Government should seriously consider banning the exporting of rough diamonds,” he said.
“There is no better technology in the diamond industry than what we have acquired here.
“This is the same technology that is being used the world over and why should we continue to export rough diamonds when we can do the value addition locally?”
Mr Kurotwi said the acquiring of the new technology was in line with Government’s economic blue print, the Zim-Asset, which emphasised on the need to add value to the country’s natural resources. He said the new machinery was going to open floodgates of employment opportunities for the young people in the diamond cutting and polishing process. Mr Kurotwi said at least 14 Indian diamond experts were already at the ZDC training locals on how to use the new equipment.
“With this technology it means we now need more stones to polish per day and that is going to create thousands of jobs for polishers,” he said.
“We are going to have massive training of polishers here and we already have 14 experts from India doing the training.”
The new equipment has the capacity to cut and polish a diamond within a minute, which was a major shift from the traditional way of more than three days to cut and polish a piece of diamond. Mr Kurotwi said the new equipment would cut diamonds according to the specifications of the cutter.
The ZDC is working with Government in an effort to create a vibrant diamond industry as local diamonds accounted for an estimated 30 percent of rough gems in the world.