Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter—
GOVERNMENT has gained valuable experience selling its diamonds on international markets and is now better placed to bargain for fair value from all sales of its gems, Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa has said. Minister Chidhakwa made the remarks in an interview with The Herald Business yesterday saying that Government had also successfully recovered the remaining diamonds belonging to Marange resources attached in Belgium last year.
Since the seizure of diamonds in Belgium by a group of disgruntled former commercial white farmers and Amari Platinum, Government has been selling all diamonds locally on its fledgling international diamond exchange in the Msasa industrial area.
“We enjoyed a 14 percent (unit) price increase (in 2014). We will continue to sell on the domestic market, bench marking with international prices. International markets (Antwerp, Beijing and Dubai) gave us exposure,” the minister said.
“If we are not pleased with prices offered on the domestic market, we will ask questions (on why the prices are lower). But so far we are pleased with what is happening,” he said.
Zimbabwe has so far held three diamonds auctions on its local exchange.
South African miner Amari Platinum had obtained the order to seize the gems after suing the Government for $500 million at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris, France, where it was contesting cancellation of its mining licence, revoked over lack of progress on its platinum project.
In addition, a group of Dutch farmers, Funnekotter group, also obtained an order from a Brussels court to attach the diamonds demanding payment of $54 million claiming their farms were illegally repossessed for resentment by Government.
Government, through a team of lawyers led by prominent Harare lawyer Mr Farai Mutamangira successfully challenged the seizure of the diamonds arguing the gems, which had been taken to Belgium for auctioning, belonged to corporate entities with different legal persona to the State.
A total of 5,9 million carats were sold for $350 million last year compared to 8,9 million carats traded the prior year to realise the $453 million.
The sale for 2014 represented 33,7 percent drop by volume, 22,7 percent decline in value, but a 14 percent growth in unit price.