In a surprise move, Zimbabwe cabinet directed their Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa to ban export of rough diamonds. A news report dated July 24 mentioned that Zimbabwe realized that it was “not proper or rational” to continuously offload rough diamonds, without doing value additions in form of diamond processing and reaping the economic benefits.
Zimbabwe has been under tremendous financial pressure lately, especially ascribing to the manifold issues and challenges enveloping its diamonds. Zimbabwe exported diamond roughs internationally, many of which landed up in India for cutting & polishing. Referring to Surat – the diamond processing hub of India, Chidakwa said that “India has built an entire city underpinned by the diamonds from Zimbabwe but us the source of the diamonds do not have anything to show in terms of value addition.”
To develop its indigenous diamond processing industry, Zimbabwe had few months back reduced its License fees by 80% among several other measures but, the export ban is a clear despair-action. The government now wants to only export cut gems and crafted jewelry. This will definitely put a burden on the diamond pipeline and acute strain on the rough supply to diamond processing zones worldwide, which are either way suffering due to squeeze in global production and supply.
Similar future unprecedented policies and actions signal that the industry will need to start exploring and accepting alternate means and look beyond traditional mining resouces.